Bangui – Central African and International human rights groups have called for the transitional government in the Central African Republic (CAR) to push for the Special Criminal Court to be formed, as the country gears up for elections on December 27 amid violence.
The Central African Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) released a statement on Wednesday calling for immediate action.
The CAR transitional government propagated a decision to establish a Special Criminals Court after the gross criminal injustices and crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed in 2003.
Expressing hope over the intention to make the necessary steps, the coalition also called on the international community to aid to assist with putting words into actions.
“These efforts must continue and be supported by international actors to ensure that the court envisioned on paper becomes a reality as quickly as possible,” the press release read.
CAR authorities have started laying basic foundations down in order for the court to operate.
A building has been made available to allow for the first investigations to take place and prosecutorial activities. Basic functional policies, staff duties and responsibilities have been outlined.
This process has been supported by the United Nations which has provided logistical and financial experts to impart knowledge.
Since the end of September 2015, NGOs have documented more than 100 killings, destruction of infrastructure and 20 cases of sexual assault, however this could be a fraction of crimes committed.
It is therefore essential for a Special Criminal Court be established as the Central African justice system is not equipped to handle such cases.
The presidential and parliamentary elections are set for December 27th 2015, with a possible second round planned January 31st, 2016, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes there is fear violence will ensure.
Justice for grave crimes
“It is urgent that the Special Criminal Court be up and running to try these crimes and to clearly signal that abuses of this kind will no longer be tolerated,” the groups said.
The groups said it is important for a steering committee consisting of transitional government, the UN, and some international partners to be appointed in order to ensure that a clear vision is formed.
“It is clear that justice for the grave crimes committed in the Central African Republic is an essential building block for durable peace in the nation,” the groups said. “Financial and logistical support for the Special Criminal Court is both an indispensable investment in the future and a moral duty toward victims who have suffered so much.