UN Human Rights Chief welcomes convictions over 2019 massacre: Central African Republic


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Wednesday welcomed the conviction and sentencing of three members of the Retour, Réclamation et Réhabilitation (3R) armed group for crimes against humanity and war crimes for their roles in a massacre of 46 civilians in 2019 and other serious abuses in the Central African Republic.

The three accused – Issa Sallet Adoum (alias Bozizé), Mahamat Tahir and Yaouba Ousman – were found guilty on 31 October and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment for the killings and other crimes, which took place in Lemouna and Koundjili, in the country’s northwest.

“This is a historic first judgment by the Special Criminal Court for international crimes as defined under the law of the Central African Republic. The judgment shows the capacity of the Central African Republic’s courts, assisted by the international community, to address the gravest crimes suffered by its people,” said Türk.

“While subject to appeal, the verdict is a significant milestone in the fight against impunity in the country. It will serve as a lasting reminder that violations of human rights and serious crimes under international law can never be tolerated, regardless of who commits them. It is an important warning to other perpetrators that they too will one day face justice for crimes committed by them or their subordinates.”

He hailed the Court’s recognition that perpetration of rape was part of a widespread and systematic attack against civilians and that the perpetrators were fully aware of that. This is an important acknowledgment of the victims of sexual violence in this case and in the conflict more broadly, the High Commissioner said.

The High Commissioner restated his Office’s support to the Special Criminal Court of the Central African Republic including through the Human Rights Division of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. He called on the authorities and the international community to continue supporting it.

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