Strengthening the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence in the Central African Republic

Implementing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Launch of the CAR Supplement to the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict

The CMN launched a new Supplement to the second edition of the International Protocol on the documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict (IP2) in partnership with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) in Bangui on 13 February 2019. The Supplement adapts IP2 to the context and situation of the Central African Republic (CAR) and is the fourth to be launched, following those for Iraq, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The Supplement focuses on the documentation and investigation of conflict and atrocity-related sexual violence (CARSV), defined in IP2 as follows: “sexual violence as a war crime, crime against humanity, act of genocide or other serious violation of international criminal, human rights or humanitarian law”. It forms part of a CMN – CIJA 3 years long capacity-building project on investigating and prosecuting sexual violence in conflict in CAR.

“The Supplement provides practitioners with contextual, comparative, and practical information on the perpetration of CARSV, accountability avenues, legal framework, ‘do no harm’ approaches, and types of sexual violence evidence in CAR. It provides charts comparing national legal definitions of sexual violence crimes to international standards in a user-friendly format to allow the comparison of elements of crimes and understand legislative gaps. ” said Jose Ordoñez (CMN) who has researched and drafted the Supplement.

The Supplement is conceived to be a tool to assist primarily investigators, prosecutors and magistrates with the investigation and prosecution of conflict-related sexual violence in CAR. The charts containing national legal definitions of sexual violence crimes may assist investigators and prosecutors to analyse evidence to support each particular element of a crime and understand the applicable law in relation to the timing and context of the perpetration of crimes. Furthermore, the Supplement provides an evidence workbook detailing evidence accepted in the Jean-Pierre Bemba trial proceedings at the International Criminal Court, which were not turned down on appeal.

The Supplement contains an overview of national, hybrid and international accountability mechanisms available in and outside CAR, including challenges to documentation, investigation, or prosecution, and recent efforts at accountability processes.

The Supplement draws together existing tools and resources for practitioners on standard operating procedures and referring survivors to support services, which research showed were not universally known among local practitioners. Lastly, it provides an analysis of the types of evidence used in sexual violence cases in CAR and an overview of the rules related to the admissibility of evidence in both proceedings before the Special Criminal Court (CPS) and the ‘ordinary’ criminal justice system.

Event Launch in Bangui

Capture d’écran 2019-02-22 à 09.24.05Speakers at the launch event in Bangui on 13 February.

The CMN and CIJA launched the Supplement on 13 February 2019 in Bangui by holding a roundtable discussion. The roundtable was well attended (gathering 30 practitioners) by a cross section of international and national prosecutors and magistrates, investigators, protection specialists, SGBV medical and legal service providers, MINUSCA representatives, and Ministry of Security (manages investigation services) officials and participants from the Cour Penale Special, ordinary justice system and special SV unit (UMIRR) The roundtable engaged in a fruitful discussion on the role of local institution in investigating and prosecuting conflict-related sexual violence, challenges related to the legal framework and support to victim as well as victim-centred approaches.

The roundtable-launch opened with the following video message (in French) by the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten.

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