CAR violence may lead to genocide: rights group

[JURIST] Religious violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) [JURIST news archive] has the potential to create the conditions for genocide [press release], the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) [advocacy website] said Tuesday, urging other nations to intervene to stop the conflict. The 89-page page report, entitled They Must All Leave or Die [text, PDF], outlines the roles of the parties involved in the conflict, including the anti-Balaka, a group of Christians and Animists, who are in conflict with the Seleka, a group mainly composed of Muslims who overthrew [JURIST report] the CAR's government in March 2013. According to the FIDH:

The nature of the crimes committed in CAR since the end of 2012, and particularly since March 2013 and 5 December 2013, clearly fall into the category of international crimes. Systematic attacks on civilians, the advance planning of certain attacks, the persecution of civilian populations, extrajudicial executions, rape, gang rape, other sexual violence, the recruitment of child soldiers, the destruction of religious property, the destruction of homes, and other grave violations of human rights, clearly fall within the ambit of war crimes and crimes against humanity under national and international enactments, such as articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court (ICC).
To remedy the issues created by the conflict, the report recommends that the CAR reestablish state authority, disarm the anti-Balaka militia and establish a fair electoral system. The report also recommends that the international community help finance the CAR's civil service expenses. The CAR has established a special investigation unit, the CSEI, which was listed as a recommendation in the report.

Earlier this month CAR President Catherine Samba Panza requested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate crimes committed within the country [JURIST report] since August 21 2012. The ICC had opened a preliminary investigation [JURIST report] into the crimes occurring in the CAR in February. In March the UN established an International Commission of Inquiry into the human rights violations occurring in the CAR, one month before the UN Security Council voted to create a peacekeeping force [JURIST reports] within the country. After a coup was staged by the Seleka rebels in March 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the African Union strongly condemned the coup [JURIST report] and the ensuing violence against citizens and foreign aid workers in the country.

 

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