Central Africa Republic: Catholic Church – “No To Impunity For Crimes Committed”

Over 5,000 dossiers on violence committed in the Central African Republic from 2014 until today will be submitted to the Special Criminal Court for Central Africa by the Commission “Justice and Peace” of the Catholic Church.

The Commission have announced that they have filed 5,285 dossiers on crimes committed in the country to be submitted to the Special Criminal Court, a body created under UN aegis to investigate and judge crimes committed in the country from 2003 to 2015. However, civil society organisations seek to extend the Court’s mandate until 2017, as several areas of the Central African Republic still live in insecurity.

According to the Platform for Religious Confessions for Peace and Social Cohesion, it is important
to make sure that the serious crimes committed by the various armed groups that upset the Country do not remain unpunished.

For Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, the perpetrators of the crimes are known by all. They cannot therefore be amnestied so as to “avoid Central Africa from sinking back into a cycle of hatred and revenge”.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Dieudionné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui, criticised the agreement signed on June 19 in Rome, with the mediation of Sant’ Egidio Community, between 13 Central African rebels and Bangui government . Cardinal Nzapalainga, said that “the agreement is an open door to impunity for crimes committed”. The Cardinal also denied that he had signed this agreement.

In a statement published on the 22nd of June, the Cardinal states that “he did not give a mandate to anyone to represent him and make commitments on his behalf, personally, or as President of CECA (Central African Bishops’ Conference) or as a founding member of the Platform of Religious Confessions”.

For four years now, the RCA has endured conflict and instability. After the coup by the Seleka rebels in 2013, there were violent clashes with the anti-Balaka in 2014 and the country. The country was partly pacified thanks to the intervention of Pope Francis and the efforts of Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui. However, he clashes between different militias have diminished but are still going on.

The RCA still has no regular army and the UN troops, with 12,500 troops in the country, is finding it hard to defend the people, either because it cannot or will not. While President Faustin-Archange Touadéra continues to call for a disarmament process, those with arms continue to fight for control of the country.

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