Annual Report: Central African Republic 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Central African Republic 2010

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The Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in Central Africa (MICOPAX), supported by the Economic Community of Central African States, remained in the CAR. The presence of MINURCAT and MICOPAX failed to protect most of the civilians at risk in northern and eastern CAR. Dozens of civilians were killed by government soldiers and armed group fighters. Nearly 20,000 people fled to neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, while more than 100,000 were displaced inside the country.

International justice – Jean-Pierre Bemba

Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and leader of an armed group, continued to be detained by the ICC awaiting trial in connection with crimes allegedly committed in the CAR by his armed group in 2002 and 2003. The Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC authorized his release to await trial provided there was a country willing to host him. This drew protests from the ICC Prosecutor's office and lawyers representing victims. However, no country offered to accept him. Subsequently, the Appeals Chamber ordered Jean- Pierre Bemba to remain in custody pending trial, due to start in April 2010.

Abuses by government forces and armed groups

Government forces and armed groups killed and injured civilians in parts of the CAR affected by the armed conflict. Most of the killings by CAR armed groups were reported in Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Vakaga, Nana-Gribizi and Bamingui-Bangoran provinces. Widespread insecurity in the region made it very difficult for human rights and humanitarian organizations to establish the number of people killed or injured. Some of the victims were targeted on suspicion of supporting rival groups. Others were targeted for criticizing parties to the conflict.

  • Soule Garga, President of the National Federation of Central African Cattlekeepers, was killed in April by members of the APRD in Paoua, according to reports.
  • A local worker of the ICRC was killed in Birao in June, allegedly by members of an unspecified armed group. LRA combatants killed a number of civilians and abducted many others in eastern CAR. The LRA repeatedly attacked areas in and around Obo during the year.
  • In April, the LRA killed two local employees of an Italian humanitarian organization known as Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI). Two other COOPI employees were shot and wounded during the same incident.

Impunity

Government forces, particularly those belonging to the presidential guard, continued to commit serious human rights violations with impunity. A senior officer of the presidential guard who was reported in previous years to have killed and tortured with impunity carried out further human rights violations. For example, in March the officer reportedly ordered and participated in a severe beating of Daniel Sama, a police commissioner, in the capital, Bangui. The victim, who died a few hours later from his injuries, was reported to have been beaten for possessing a pistol although it had been lawfully issued to him. Although the incident was widely reported and a government minister stated that there would be an inquiry, no action was known to have been taken.

Abuses of people suspected of witchcraft

The belief that individuals can be responsible for afflicting misfortune on others, including death, remained prevalent. Those accused of witchcraft were frequently subjected to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or even killed. Government and security officials condoned the accusations and the ill-treatment, and took no action to protect the victims or bring those responsible for abuses to justice.