Central African Republic Must Investigate Crimes, Amnesty Says

Perpetrators of serious human rights abuses in the Central African Republic must be brought to justice as part of efforts to end months of violence, according to Amnesty International.

There’s a climate of impunity that prevents judicial authorities from starting criminal investigations even if sufficient evidence is available, the London, U.K.-based rights group said in a report today. Lawyers, judges and prosecutors are afraid to resume work as neither the transitional government that assumed office in January nor an intervention force of almost 8,000 African and French troops has been able to protect people from attacks by armed militia, it said.

The Central African Republic has been gripped by violence between mainly Christian armed groups known as anti-balaka and mainly Muslim rebels who brought Michel Djotodia to power until he resigned in January. Thousands have been killed and more than half a million people are internally displaced, according to the United Nations.

Many attacks have been conducted openly and there is ample evidence of crimes, including the lynching of a suspected Seleka supporter that occurred after a public speech by President Catherine Samba-Panza in February, Amnesty said. The incident, which was documented by photographers, hasn’t been investigated, the organization said.

The anti-balaka militia, who have targeted Muslims as well as Christians seen as too close to Muslims, now have asserted their authority in many parts of the country, according to Amnesty. Most Muslims have fled to the northeast of the country or to Chad and Cameroon.

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