AS DELIVERED by Eric Richardson
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States thanks the Independent Expert for her presentation today, and for her continued commitment to security, justice, and accountability in the Central African Republic.
Ms. Keita-Bocoum serves as a vital resource for CAR’s transitional government, local leaders, and civil society in their efforts to consolidate human rights and the rule of law.
We support a solution that would allow the IE to make further trips to the country this year.
Though there have been significant gains following the deployment of African Union, French, and European Union troops, the IE’s report and remarks today highlight the on-going challenges and persistent abuses faced by the people of the CAR.
The United States remains deeply concerned about the situation.
We value the IE’s recommendations to governmental authorities in CAR, parties to the conflict, and the international community on ways to end the violence and suffering.
We share her belief that perpetrators of atrocities must be held accountable to prevent future harm to innocent civilians and allow the country to move beyond past abuses.
To that end, we support strengthening judicial capacity to investigate and prosecute all individuals suspected of committing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
We hope the CAR authorities will work with community-based groups to sensitize the public to support local reconciliation and justice initiatives.
The Independent Expert’s report notes recent positive efforts by the Ministry of Justice to create new investigation units with national responsibility.
It nevertheless highlights the considerable work that remains to address weaknesses in CAR’s judiciary and law enforcement sectors.
We regret, for example, the absence of functioning jails outside of Bangui.
That situation has not improved since the IE’s last briefing.
The IE’s report also notes gaps in training support for law enforcement personnel, judges, and other actors.
Unfortunately, these gaps help keep weapons in the hands of those fomenting violence by allowing them to act with impunity.
We urge the transitional government to continue to focus on the comprehensive development of the justice sector, and call on the international community to coordinate assistance to this sector.
That assistance should best leverage the means available to reinforce CAR’s existing human and material resources.
In conclusion, concerted international effort and sustained local commitment – with broad inclusion from national civil society – will bring about meaningful progress in rebuilding CAR’s system of justice and the consolidation of peace.