UN aims to bring killers to account in Central African Republic

Security Council probe to interview Christian and Muslim victims with aim to 'stop any advances toward genocide'

The head of a United Nations inquiry said on Monday it was seeking to establish who should face prosecution for killings and other crimes in Central African Republic in order to halt for good bloodshed that has raised fears of genocide.

Thousands have been killed since the Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim northern rebels, seized power a year ago and launched a campaign of looting, torture and killing in the majority Christian country, triggering Christian reprisals. The UN estimates some 650,000 have been displaced by religious violence, while nearly 300,000 have fled to neighboring states.

"We want to present to the Security Council a complete file so that the appropriate action can be taken," Bernard Acho Muna, who chairs a commission of inquiry set up by the UN Security Council in December, told a news briefing.

"The Central African Republic has had many coup d'etats. And basically after each coup d'etat there is reconciliation, and nobody is held accountable and then in the end we have people sitting in the cabinet, in government with blood on their hands and this has never helped the situation."

Muna, a former judge in Cameroon, said that a team of UN investigators would arrive in Bangui on Tuesday to begin interviewing Christian and Muslim victims of attacks, senior political and miltary officials and activist groups.

They would draw up a confidential list of suspects for eventual prosecution, to be submitted to world powers later this year, and would also be in touch with a preliminary inquiry by the International Criminal Court (ICC), he said.

"Our role is definitely in going towards the establishment of law, the bringing of people who have committed offences to book," Muna said.

He hoped his investigation would signal to people making what he called "hate propaganda" that they should not embark on greater bloodshed.

"We have also heard reports of genocide. But one thing I can tell you from my Rwandan experience, is that there is definitely a question of propaganda already, hate propaganda, that is usually a very bad sign when they say propaganda."

"We don't wait until genocide is committed and then we call for prosecution. I think it is in our mandate to see how one can stop any advances toward genocide," said Muna, a former deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which investigated 1994 mass killings.

The commission, which includes former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda and Fatimata M'Baye, a lawyer fom Mauritania, will spend two weeks in Central African Republic and also look into Chad's role in the violence, he said.

Read more:
One mother’s deal with the enemy to save her baby

REUTERS

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Network Support Engineer is r...

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker - OTE £20,000

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An office based Appointment Mak...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent