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Justice for 3R Abuses an Important Step Toward Accountability

On December 17, the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court (SCC) announced it will send its first case to trial. This is a significant moment in the difficult effort to see justice for heinous abuses committed in the most recent conflicts…
Judges from the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court (SCC) listen to arguments in a hearing
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Confirmation of Charges Hearing in Commander Case Starts Today

Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) begins the pretrial hearing in the case of a former commander of the Seleka rebel group, who is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic. The case is an important…
An ICC billboard in Bangui in September 2021, announcing Said’s confirmation of charges hearing.
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ICC Rules Trial of Militia Leaders Can Proceed

On December 11, the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for Central African Republic militia leaders Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom. While they can appeal the…
Anti-Balaka fighters in Gambo, Mboumou province, Central African Republic, on August 16, 2017.
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Nairobi Conference Commits to Greater Efforts to Fight Impunity, Defend Rights

Last week, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss “combating impunity and upholding human rights as key contributors to peace and security.” Representatives from the organization’s 12…
Jean Baptiste Nguondija, a resident of Ngbada, Central African Republic, by the grave of his 10 year-old daughter Nathana Poura. Nguondija has lost 5 children since the conflict began in 2013.
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Special Criminal Court Critical to Accountability for Past Crimes

“Our brothers, who have attacked us, must be brought to justice,” a victim of the violence in the Central African Republic told me last week in the country’s capital Bangui. “Justice counteracts this culture of violence… It…
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Arrest of Former Militia Leader a Welcome Step

On December 12, Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, a one-time self-declared political coordinator of anti-balaka militias, was arrested in France on International Criminal Court (ICC) charges. With his arrest, the prospects for justice for grave crimes committed…
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Special Criminal Court will try War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Governments across Africa should take note of developments in the Central African Republic to deliver justice to victims of grave crimes committed in the country. The Special Criminal Court (SCC), established in 2015, is a…
Congolese Special Prosecutor Toussaint Muntazini (R) and the five other judges of the Special Criminal Court (SCC)
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New Court Can Help End Impunity

Last month I visited Bakala, a town in the center of the Central African Republic where serious fighting between two rebel groups had recently claimed at least 38 lives. A few brave residents showed me a well where seven bodies had been dumped. Nearby, we…
Bullet casings on the ground in Bakala, Central African Republic, after fighting between the UPC and FPRC in December 2016. Photo taken on January 22, 2017.
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Opposition to Withdrawal by States

The African Union made headlines Tuesday for purportedly agreeing to mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court. The reality is more complex. The decision by AU member states welcomes the announced withdrawals by South Africa,…
A general view shows the headquarters of the African Union (AU) building in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 29, 2017.
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On March 30, president-elect Faustin-Archange Touadera will take office in the Central African Republic. His task, to quell the brutal sectarian violence that has torn his country apart, got even harder in recent weeks. Renewed violence in and around…
Machete used in the reprisal killing of two men 6 kilometers outside of Bambari, Central African Republic, on March 4, 2016.
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As the African Union summit closed on January 31, 2016, Kenyan media ignited with reports that the African Union endorsed mass withdrawal of African countries from the International Criminal Court. But the reality is a lot less newsworthy than the main…
A general view shows delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016.
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So far, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has avoided arrest for alleged international crimes – including genocide – committed in Darfur. But his world has certainly gotten smaller. On Monday, al-Bashir planned to visit Indonesia to attend the 60th…
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A Victory for Congo's Children

Yesterday in The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers under age 15 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, making him the ICC’s first convicted war criminal.…
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In October, 2011, the Obama administration said it would send 100 US military advisers to central Africa to help the region’s armies combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a vicious Ugandan rebel group. Human Rights Watch has pressed the US government…
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In July 1997, paramilitaries working with the Colombian Army killed more than thirty residents of Mapirip醤, Meta. Army general Jaime Usc醫egui was implicated in the massacre and sentenced by a military tribunal to serve only forty months in prison. In a…
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On Saturday night, November 10, Theys Eluay was abducted and murdered outside Jayapura, the capital of Papua, while on his way home from a Heroes Day ceremony at the local headquarters of the Indonesian army. Theys was the chair of the Papua Presidium…
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On July 10, Human Rights Watch issued a public letter to Manuel Marulanda, the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (known as the FARC), Colombia's main rebel group. Based on a HRW mission to territory in Colombia…
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A Colombian Army officer whose links with abusive paramilitary groups was a focus of our February 2000 report, "The Ties That Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links," is now being prosecuted by civilian courts, in part due to the high profile…