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The uncertain promise of hybrid justice in the Central African Republic

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The decision taken by the Central African Republic government earlier in 2015 to create a Special Criminal Court to prosecute crimes committed during the recent conflict offers promises of long-delayed justice. Faced with a legacy of long running armed conflict, poor governance structures, and numerous human rights violations – especially during the most recent bout of fighting in 2012-2014 – a Special Criminal Court can significantly contribute to promoting accountability and redress for victims and support peace-building in the country. However, significant challenges face the future court if it is to fulfil this promise. This policy paper highlights four such challenges, relating to capacity needs, ongoing insecurity, the Court’s relationship with the ICC, and its investigative focus. Addressing these from the outset may prove crucial in ensuring the court’s effectiveness and legitimacy.

(Photo credit: Jack W. Pearce, Flickr)