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A UN peacekeeper alongside a member of Russian security forces and a member of Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s presidential guard in Bangui, December 27, 2020. © 2020 Alexis Huguet/AFP
A UN peacekeeper alongside a member of Russian security forces and a member of Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s presidential guard in Bangui, December 27, 2020. © 2020 Alexis Huguet/AFP

Human Rights Watch claims there is ‘compelling evidence’ and ‘credible allegations’ Russia-linked forces have summarily executed and tortured civilians in Central African Republic since 2019

Human Rights Watch claimed on Tuesday that there is ‘compelling evidence’ and ‘credible allegations’ that Russian-identified forces supporting the Central African Republic’s government ‘appear’ to have summarily executed, tortured, and beaten civilians since 2019.

The organization then called on national authorities, the country’s Special Criminal Court (SCC), or the International Criminal Court (ICC), to investigate ‘these incidents’ as well as other ‘credible allegations’ of abuse by Russia-linked forces for ‘criminal prosecution.’

It claimed that several western governments and United Nations ‘experts’ and ‘special rapporteurs’ have found “evidence that the forces linked to Russia operating in the Central African Republic include a significant number of members of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military security contractor with apparent links to the Russian government.”

On April 15, the United Nations announced it would investigate the circumstances in which at least 10 people were killed in the northeast, with some initial reports alleging Russian forces may have been involved.

“There is compelling evidence that Russian-identified forces supporting the Central African Republic’s government have committed grave abuses against civilians with complete impunity,” claimed Ida Sawyer, crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch. “The failure of the Central African Republic government and its partners to forcefully denounce these abuses, and to identify and prosecute those responsible, will most likely only fuel further crimes in Africa and beyond.”

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