Reflections from IJR’s Stephen Buchanan-Clarke
On 06 February the ‘Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic’ was signed by the CAR government and 14 armed groups in Bangui following negotiations in Khartoum that began on 24 January under the auspices of the AU. It addresses justice and reconciliation, governance, and transitional security arrangements. The agreement does not include an amnesty for militia leaders but grants the president a “discretionary right to issue pardons”. Under the agreement, mixed security units will be formed comprising members of the armed groups and state security forces, and members of the former armed groups will be allowed to participate in the government.
Article 09 of the Agreement calls for “an acceleration of the process to establish a Commission on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation with the aim of promoting truth, justice, reparation, national reconciliation and forgiveness,” and Article 10 stipulates that this Commission “begin its work within ninety (90) days of the signature of the present Agreement.” The proposed Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission receives significant emphasis in the Agreement and is envisioned as a cornerstone of the peace process and government’s wider transitional justice strategy.
As part of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and In Transformation Initiatives’ (ITI) ongoing collaborative effort to support peacebuilding and reconciliation in CAR, a delegation from CAR, led by the Minister of Humanitarian Action and National Reconciliation, HE Mrs Virginie Baïkoua were hosted in Pretoria, South Africa between 15 and 18 July August 2019.
The objectives of the workshop were to assess progress made since the signing of the 06 February 2019 Peace Accord in the implementation of the Ministry’s transitional justice strategy; identify current and potential challenges to the implementation of the Peace Accord’s ‘Justice and Reconciliation’ pillar; and to provide strategic guidance and improve the capacity of the delegates in transitional justice theory, policy, and practise.
The Peace Accord has helped to promote a reduction in violence and in some regions those displaced by conflict in recent years have started to return. It is perhaps the most inclusive peace deal signed in recent years and should be seen a significant milestone in efforts to achieve sustainable peace. However, immediate steps must be taken to build on this momentum and renewed international support provided to ensure the terms laid out in the Peace Accord are implemented.