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: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen