14-20 March 2016
Weekly Media Monitoring report for the Central African Republic
Posted on March 29, 2016
Compiled by Christina Murphy
- UN human rights expert visits CAR
- International Criminal Court (ICC) convicts Bemba of war crimes
1. UN human rights expert visits CAR
"On visit to Central African Republic, UN rights expert urges support for new Government." United Nations News Centre, 16 March 2016. In English.
- Marie-Thérèse Keita-Bocoum, the UN's independent expert on the human rights situation in CAR, visited Bangui this week and called on the international community to support the country's newly elected president and his government.
- Keita-Bocoum also called for criminal justice reforms and noted the ongoing challenges of meeting basic humanitarian needs in the country.
- In addition, Keita-Bocoum expressed concern about the continuing levels of violence in the country's center, east, and north-east. She did note, however, that security has increased in Bangui recently, thanks in part to the presence of MINUSCA and international forces.
2. International Criminal Court (ICC) convicts Bemba
"Congo ex-vice president guilty in landmark ICC war rape ruling." Reuters, 21 March 2016. In English.
- The International Criminal Court convicted Jean-Pierre Bemba, former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, of international war crimes committed in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.
- Bemba was the leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) group, whose soldiers raped women and girls in Central African Republic. Some victims were as young as 10 years old.
- This is the first case in which the ICC has found an official directly responsible for the actions of his or her subordinates.
- It is likely that Bemba will appeal the ruling, but that process may take several years.
"UN welcomes ICC's first conviction for rape as war crime." UN News Centre, 22 March 2016. In English.
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon welcomed the International Criminal Court's conviction of Jean Pierre Bemba for war crimes, saying that the ruling "reaffirms that impunity will not be tolerated and sends a strong signal that commanders will be held responsible for international crimes committed by those under their authority."
- The ICC found Bemba, former commander-in-chief of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), guilty on five charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape, pillage, and murder, committed in Central African Republic.
- This case was the first to focus on sexual violence as a weapon of war, as well as on a senior official whose subordinates carried out crimes.