Bangui, May 24, 2018

 

Dear Member of Parliament:

As parliament in the Central African Republic considers the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Special Criminal Court (SCC), the undersigned Central African and international civil society organizations call for the swift adoption of this law.

The Special Criminal Court offers a historic opportunity to break the cycles of impunity that continue to drive violence in the Central African Republic. A national court in the country’s domestic justice system, but operating with extensive international participation and support, the SCC has the potential to help address more than a decade of serious crimes and help strengthen the justice system overall.

As the Bangui Forum of 2015 showed, there is strong desire in the country for justice and to avoid continued impunity for atrocities. Abuses, including that continue today in the provinces, are fueled by impunity.

In the past year, the SCC has gained considerable momentum. The chief prosecutor, judges, registrar, and judicial police have been appointed. The staff has a temporary office from which they now work. The SCC is positioned to complement ICC investigations into crimes committed in the CAR that are progressing.

But the Special Criminal Court cannot proceed with investigations and trials until the Rules of Procedure and Evidence are in place. 

Many of us had the opportunity to participate in consultations on the draft rules, during the Workshop on the draft Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Special Criminal Court on October 2 and 3. During the workshop, robust exchange on the provisions of the text took place among lawyers, judges, and human rights defenders, and revisions to the rules were subsequently made based on these discussions.

The current text includes key provisions on ensuring fair trial and respect for rights of the accused, protection of witnesses, engagement by victims, and the potential for reparations. While no text is perfect, we believe these rules as presented should be adopted without delay in order to ensure operationalization of the court.

People in Central African Republic seek justice, and continued backing from international partners for the SCC can be expected to rely on timely progress by this new institution. More than half of the court’s budget still needs to be mobilized.

We hope you will seize the opportunity to foster the success of the SCC by approving the rules in their current form during parliament’s current legislative session.

We look forward to your attention to this matter and your continued collaboration.

 

The organizations supporting this declaration are:

  1. Association chrétienne d'aide sociale (ACAS)
  2. Association chrétienne pour l'abolition de la torture (ACAT-RCA)
  3. Association des éleveurs centrafricains de volailles (AECV)
  4. Association espérance pour la paix en Centrafrique (AEPAC)
  5. Association des femmes juriste de Centrafrique (AFJC)
  6. Association pour l'intégration des jeunes (AIJ)
  7. Association des jeunes pour l'éducation chrétienne et les oeuvres sociales (AJECOS)
  8. Association de secours aux enfants atteints de concert (ASEAC)
  9. Association de solidarité pastorale pour un développement communautaire holistique (ASPDCH)
  10. Association des victimes des événements de Fatima (ASVI-2015)
  11. Association des victimes des événements de 2012-2014 (AVED)
  12. AVIDESC
  13. Association des victimes de la LRA en Centrafrique (AVLRAC)
  14. Association des victimes solidaires (AVS-2013)
  15. Centre d'alphabétisation pour la formation des aveugles en Centrafrique (CAFBAC)
  16. Coopération agro-pastorale et minière pour le développement (CAMDCA)
  17. Alerte humanitaire (CALL)
  18. Carrefour des jeunes
  19. Coalition pour la cour pénale spéciale (CCPS)
  20. Centre de documentation d'information et de formation pour le développement (CEDIFOD)
  21. Commission épiscopale justice et paix (CEJP)
  22. Civisme et démocratie (CIDEM)
  23. Conseil inter organisation non gouvernementale centrafricain (CIONGCA)
  24. Coordination des organisations musulmanes de Centrafrique (COMUC)
  25. Coordination des plates-formes des organisations nationales d'action humanitaire et de développement en Centrafrique (CPFON-AHDCA)
  26. Femme homme action plus (FHAP)
  27. Fédération internationale de droits de l'Homme (FIDH)
  28. Gestion durable des ressources naturelles et environnementales (GDRNE)
  29. Groupe de travail de la société civile pour la justice transitionnelle (GTSC-JT)
  30. Human Rights Watch (HRW)
  31. Ligue centrafricaine des droits de l'Homme (LCDH)
  32. Mouvement des défense des droits de l'Homme (MDDH)
  33. Observatoire centrafricain de droits de l'Homme (OCDH)
  34. OECSPAE
  35. Organisation des partisans pour le développement communautaire (OPPDCH)
  36. Radis-Formation
  37. Réseau des peuples autochtones et locaux de Centrafrique (REPALCA)
  38. Réseau national des organisations de la jeunesse pour les droits de l'Homme (RNOJDH)
  39. Sewa maï (SEMA)
  40. SOS-Environnement
  41. SISSITIAKO
  42. Volontaire unis pour la paix et le développement (VUPAD)