A Human Rights Watch report published on Tuesday, June 7, claims that Republic of Congo troops on the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), have killed at least 18 people, including women and children.
The HRW report says that Congolese soldiers committed the crimes between December and June 2013 in Boali and other regions of CAR.
Lewis Mudge, a researcher on Africa for Human Rights Watch, said that there’s strong evidence to support the claims.
“The crimes – murders – committed by the Congolese troops are very serious, and we must add that it is not only dozens of bodies that are in Boali, but there are also graves. There are other cases that we have cited in our report, where the soldiers are accused of killing civilians,” Mudge told RFI.
He said that it’s now up to authorities in Congo to investigate these claims and bring the perpetrators to justice, since Congolese troops in CAR operate under the criminal jurisdiction of the Republic of Congo.
However, Congolese Minister of Justice Mr. Pierre Mabiala has refuted the accusations, saying that they were manipulative and unfounded.
“I do not think the Congolese military, who are of impeccable professionalism, carried out such acts,” he said to RFI Radio.
Neither the U.N., A.U nor countries hosting U.N. missions have the authority to prosecute foreign peacekeepers. Punishment is the responsibility of troop contributing countries, but critics claim they often fail to pursue allegations.