Central African Republic rebels void constitution

Michel Djotodia, leader of rebel forces behind a coup in the Central African Republic (CAR), declared in a radio address March 25 that the country’s constitution is dissolved and he is now the nation’s leader. Djotodia, a leader of the Seleka rebel alliance that seized the country’s capital over the weekend and caused President Francois Bozize to flee the country, also declared the dissolution of the CAR parliament and government. The Seleka rebels’ actions in taking control of the country ran afoul of a peace deal brokered in January between Bozize and the group. Seleka claims, however, that its actions are justified because the Bozize government first failed to uphold elements of the agreement, including a promise to remove South African troops from Bangui. Djotodia intends to serve out the rest of Bozize’s term, which is set to end in 2016.

Earlier this week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the coup by the Seleka rebels and advocated for the “swift restoration of constitutional order.” The African Union also condemned the coup and suspended the CAR from the Union and imposed sanctions against the country. The CAR has also recently been criticized for its controversial use of child soldiers. In January UNICEF said that it had received “credible reports” of both pro-government and rebel armed groups in the country recruiting and including children in its conflict. In June the CAR was included in a report issued by Ban detailing the violations committed against children in conflict zones. The UN Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in 2011 also expressed concern about children’s rights violations, including rape and other sexual violence as well as recruitment in armed conflict, in the country.

From Jurist, March 26. Used with permission.


  1. UN rights chief condemns abuses in Central African Republic
    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on April 16 expressed concern over reports of human rights violations in the Central African Republic. Since the Seleka coalition forces launched their offensive in December, there have been numerous reports of human rights violations, including targeted killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, rape, disappearances, kidnappings and recruitment of children. Noting that the conflict has already caused 37,000 to flee the country and left tens of thousands more displaced, Pillay called on all parties to implement the Libreville Peace Agreements (PDF) signed in 2008.

    From Jurist, April 20. Used with permission.

  2. Central African Republic killing fields?
    It is being almost completely ignored by the world media, but the rebels who took power in the Central African Republic in March are apparently unleashing a reign of terror. A Sept. 18 Human Rights Watch report “I Can Still Smell the Dead: The Forgotten Human Rights Crisis in the Central African Republic,” details “the deliberate killing of civilians—including women, children, and the elderly—between March and June 2013 and confirms the deliberate destruction of more than 1,000 homes, both in the capital, Bangui, and in the provinces. Many villagers have fled their homes and are living in the bush in fear of new attacks. Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of scores of people from injuries, hunger or sickness.”