Central African Republic 2018
Central African Republic. In May, Parliament approved the regulations for a new special criminal court and in July the country’s constitutional court did the same. The Court shall have the task of carrying out judicial investigations into the serious acts of violence committed in the country. The court, which consists of 13 domestic judges and twelve from other countries, was able to begin its work in October. According to Countryaah.com, Bangui is the capital city of Central African Republic, a country located in Central Africa. One of those expected to be prosecuted at the Special Court for criminal cases is one of the leaders of the so-called anti-Balakamilis, Rodrigue Ngaïbona (also called General Andjilo). Already in February, he was sentenced to life in prison by another court for murder, theft and kidnapping. Several of Ngaïbona’s crimes can be brought up in the special court.
No lasting peace in the country was in sight during the year and the fact that Catholic bishops at a conference in the capital Bangui in January appealed to all sides of the conflict to lay down their weapons helped little. Greater hope was put in place by many instead of the fact that the Russian Federation was approved to deliver weapons and other military equipment to the Central African Republic. An arms embargo on the country was introduced in 2013. In 2018, the government began importing Russian light weapons and 175 Russians were sent to the country to train defense personnel. In August, a military cooperation agreement was signed with the Russian government.
Already in May, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised increased economic cooperation and more humanitarian assistance when his Central African colleague, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, visited Saint Petersburg. The Russian interest is explained by many as an attempt to gain access to the rich natural resources of the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic was also one of 44 African countries that in March signed an agreement on the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA).
However, the tough trials for the country’s population continued. According to Doctors Without Borders, almost all health care in the country was down, and the constant attacks on health care personnel and healthcare institutions made the organization count as one of the most dangerous in the world to conduct humanitarian work. One example of this was the event in March when were killed on their way to the city of Markounda in the northeastern part of the country, where they would train teachers.
One of many battles took place in April in one of Bangui’s Muslim-dominated sections, where a Muslim militia clashed with troops from the national army and the UN force MINUSCA. 19 people lost their lives and over a hundred were injured. A few weeks later, on May 1, at least 26 people, including a priest, died when a church was attacked in Bangui. A further eight days later, government offices, banks and schools were closed in the capital as a protest against the violence.
One of the most active militias was the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC), which in May took control of the small town of Bambari but was soon driven back by UN soldiers. The UPC is made up of former members of the Muslim embassy rebel movement Séléka. People from the Bambario area made up about half of the approximately 14,000 people who fled across the Congo (Kinshasa) border in less than a week in May. Other refugees left their homes in the southeastern part of the country. At that time, the number of Central African refugees in Congo (Kinshasa) was over 180,000, an increase of about 80,000 in less than a year.
The UN Special Envoy for the Central African Republic, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga from Gabon, announced in October that at least six militant groups in the western part of the country had agreed to disarm and reintegrate into society. After the war crime suspect Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, a former anti-Balaka leader, was arrested in France, two militias left the disarmament program.
Former Congo (Kinshasa) rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was sentenced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2016 to 18 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic in 2002-03, was released from the charges in June this year appealed against the judgment.