Central African Republic: Election-Related violence, Atrocity Crimes


Human Wrongs Watch

As the Central African Republic (CAR) prepares for general elections, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that her Office will record any instance of violence and that anyone committing atrocity crimes will be held accountable.

 

Voters in the PK5 area of the capital Bangui after casting ballots in the Central African Republic referendum from 13 to 14 December 2015 on a new draft constitution for the country. UN Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis

These presidential and legislative elections that had been scheduled to take place this Sunday in the Central African Republic will now be held on 30 December 2015, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country on 24 December 2015 reported.
The new date for the polls was announced by the national electoral authorities, who stated that more time was needed to address logistical issues and complete the training of electoral agents.

 

The polls were set to open on 27 December for the people of CAR to elect a President and representatives of the National Assembly.

This follows the Constitutional referendum held earlier this month and is part of the ongoing process to complete the transition in the country after more than two years of fighting between the mainly Muslim Séléka and mainly Christian anti-Balaka groups.

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ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Photo: ICC-CPI | UN News Centre

In a statement issued on 23 December 2015, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda noted that the Constitutional referendum had benefited from strong participation despite a volatile security situation.

At the same time, she “observed with concern reported incidents of violence and threats in an effort to intimidate and obstruct people from voting,” adding that such violence may lead to crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the ICC, and must stop.

“I want to be clear: my Office will continue to closely follow developments in CAR in the coming period and record any instance of violence or incitement to violence. Those who incite or commit atrocity crimes will be held accountable either by the relevant national authorities in CAR or at the ICC,” she stated.

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Under the watchful eyes of the UN peacekeeping mission known as MINUSCA, voting takes place in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, on a constitutional referendum meant to help stabilize the country. Photo: MINUSCA

In September 2014, following a referral by the CAR authorities, Ms. Bensouda announced her Office’s second investigation into crimes committed in the country.

“This investigation is ongoing; my Office continues to collect evidence, with a view to requesting warrants of arrest as soon as possible against those responsible for grave crimes committed since 1 August 2012, with no end date,” she said.

“The process of gathering evidence against any person who incites or engages in acts of mass violence before, during and after the elections is continuing. Such acts are serious crimes, which the ICC has jurisdiction to deal with.”

In addition to the two investigations related to the situation in CAR, the Court, which is based in The Hague, is also looking into the situations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Darfur region of Sudan, Kenya, Libya, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. (Source: UN)

2015 Human Wrongs Watch

 

 

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