GENEVA (24 May 2019) - 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.
Ms Marie-Thérèse Keita Bocoum is the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic. The mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic was established by the Human Rights Council on 27 September 2013. Ms Keita Bocoum, former professor at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences of the University of Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire, has held various positions both in her country and within the United Nations. She has served as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi, Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to UNOWA, but also Director of the Human Rights Division and Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Darfur.
Independent Experts are part of what are referred to as the "special procedures" of the Human Rights Council. Special procedures, the most important body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general term applied to the Council's independent investigation and monitoring mechanisms that address specific country situations or thematic issues around the world. Special procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not United Nations staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of governments and organizations and perform their duties in an independent capacity.
OHCHR country page: Central African Republic
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