The UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) strongly condemns the recent attacks that led to the deaths of more than 49 people between 19 and 21 May in several villages in the Ouham-Pendé Prefecture.
"If armed groups claim their place in the peace process, they must immediately put an end to the violence,” said Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum. "They must also remember that they may be prosecuted either for their direct involvement in the commission of these heinous acts or because of their command position in relation to their subordinates, as well as their influence and responsibilities as superiors."
According to the information provided to the Independent Expert, the attacks in the villages of Koudjili, Ndondjom, Bohong, Lemouna and Koui which appear to have been coordinated were carried out by combatants from the 3R group. “These attacks could be classified as serious crimes if their coordinated and planned nature, as well as the perpetrators' intention to kill a large part of the population in these villages, are proven,” said Bocoum.
"The urgent need today is to protect populations, and the State has the primary responsibility in this area," the Independent Expert said. She encouraged the authorities, with the support of the UN’s peacekeeping mission UNMISCA, to strengthen joint patrols in the areas concerned in order to protect the population.
"It is also the responsibility of the State to set public action in motion in order to prosecute the perpetrators of these acts," she said, calling on UNMISCA to support the authorities in this context. Bocoum also urged the leaders of the armed group concerned to assume their responsibilities by facilitating these investigations, and the arrest and bringing to justice of the alleged perpetrators.
"Such acts are likely to jeopardize the success of the peace process," said the Independent Expert. She stressed the responsibility of all, in particular the guarantors of the peace agreement, to take the necessary measures, including the sanctions provided for in the peace agreement, and to use their full weight to silence arms and ensure peace and justice in accordance with the legitimate demands of the Central Africans.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).