Elections planned for April and October were postponed until January 2011. In October 2010 the independent electoral commission announced that the voter census had been completed successfully. However, election officials were abducted and held hostage by armed groups in parts of the country. Leaders of opposition parties, including the President of the Liberation Movement for the People of Central Africa (MLPC), were subjected to harassment and prevented from travelling abroad, without explanation.
As much as two thirds of the country was beyond the control of the government. Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes because of armed attacks, and as many as 200,000 remained internally displaced. There were also about 200,000 refugees in neighbouring countries.
The north-west of the country was under the effective control of the Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy (APRD), an armed group which had signed a peace agreement with the government but not disarmed. In the south-east and east the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) increased the number and severity of its attacks.
The AU announced in October the formation of a joint military force, with troops provided by the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan and Uganda, to fight the LRA, which had moved to the CAR, DRC and Southern Sudan after being ousted from northern Uganda.
In May, US President Barack Obama signed a law committing his government to help the CAR and other countries in the region to eliminate the threat posed to them by the LRA. In June, members of US Special Forces visited south-eastern CAR to assess potential assistance to the CAR government against the LRA. In November, President Obama submitted to the US Congress a “Strategy to Support the Disarmament of the Lord’s Resistance Army”.
In May, the UN Security Council decided to end the mandate of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) after the Chadian government asked for the peacekeepers to be withdrawn. The 4,375-strong force was to pull out from the two countries in stages by the end of 2010.
A 500-strong peacekeeping force known as the Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in Central African Republic (MICOPAX) continued to be deployed under the aegis of the Economic Community of Central African States.
The Ugandan army continued to deploy thousands of troops in the east of the country.Top of page
The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba, former Vice-President of the DRC, started in November. In October, an appeals panel at the court in The Hague had rejected an appeal from his lawyers to dismiss the case, the final obstacle to starting the trial. The ICC said that Jean-Pierre Bemba would face two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes. He is accused of leading militias in the CAR in 2002 and 2003 that killed and raped civilians.Top of page
Armed groups killed and injured civilians with impunity in parts of the country affected by the armed conflict. Other abuses frequently reported included rape of women and girls, looting and burning down of homes, granaries and shops. Widespread insecurity in the region made it very difficult for human rights and humanitarian organizations to establish the number of victims and the identity of the perpetrators.
The APRD mounted roadblocks and extorted “taxes” in the north of the country.
The LRA carried out hundreds of attacks in the CAR, abducting people, including girls, looting and pillaging, and killing hundreds of civilians.
The Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP), one of the armed groups that refused to sign a peace agreement with the government, was accused of rapes, killings, looting and extortion in north-eastern CAR.
The Ugandan army maintained its presence in the east of the country. In January, it reportedly killed Bok Abudema, second-in-command of the LRA, north of the town of Djema. A Ugandan soldier shot dead a young CAR national and injured his father in October.Top of page
Government forces were responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights violations in areas of the country where they were engaged in conflict with armed groups. The government was also responsible for arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture and other ill-treatment.
Suspected critics of the government, and their associates and relatives, were imprisoned on false charges.
Women and men accused of witchcraft were frequently subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, or even killed. Government and security officials condoned the accusations and the ill-treatment, and took no action to protect the victims or bring those responsible for abuses to justice.
Fourteen people were sentenced to death in their absence for murder by the Bangui Criminal Court. No other death sentences or executions were reported.Top of page