UN Report on the Central African Republic: Is the Glass Reflecting the International Community's Efforts Half-Empty or Half-Full?
In January 2015, UN published the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Central African Republic (CAR). The report is significant on a number of levels. The report documents the wrongful killing of thousands and furthers the discussion on whether the crime of genocide should be expanded to include cultural genocide based on ethnic cleansing. Without understanding the nature and history of the armed conflict(s) in CAR one cannot understand the difficulties the COI faced in conducting their investigation and the resulting limitations on their report. To that end the report includes helpful annexes on the ethnic groups in CAR and their zones of influence as well as the conflict's impact on causing the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, both within CAR and to nearby countries. The report presents a snapshot of CAR and the international community's efforts. Peacekeeping missions in CAR have surely prevented a bad situation from devolving to something much worse. Yet CAR remains at a tipping point. As one of the experts on the COI noted, it is not that genocide definitely has not occurred in CAR, it may have. And genocide may still (or continue to) occur if we do not pay attention. 2015 will provide significant indicators on which direction CAR is headed. Sadly there are a number of factors suggesting that the goal of viable domestic criminal justice accountability mechanisms in CAR ending impunity will remain elusive.