UNODC supports lawyers of the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court

  
     
 

Since 2003, the Central African Republic (CAR) has been the scene of inter-communal confrontations and mass violence. In response to these atrocities, a Special Criminal Court (SCC) was established in 2015 to try the perpetrators, co-perpetrators and accomplices of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed on Central African territory since 1 January 2003.

In this context, and following the signing of an agreement with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in March 2018, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) Regional Office for West and Central Africa opened a project office in Bangui in June 2018, prior to the inaugural session of the SCC in October 2018.

                    
   
 

The main objective of this partnership between UNODC and MINUSCA is to support the operationalization of the SCC in the areas of legal aid and victim and witness protection. For legal aid, this includes the establishment of a Corps spécial d'avocats. Its members are admitted by a Organe Paritaire composed of representatives of the Central African Bar Association, MINUSCA, civil society organisations and UNODC. UNODC also contributed to the drafting of the rules of this Organe Paritaire and of the Corps spécial d'avocats, which were adopted on 2 March 2020.

The SCC is a hybrid court: national and international judges sit jointly; the same applies to the staff of the Court's Registry and to the members of the Corps spécial d'avocats. Calls for applications to join the Corps were therefore launched on 6 March 2020, for the positions of national and international lawyers as well as for Head of the Corps spécial d'avocats. In anticipation of the establishment of this body, UNODC had, in 2019, co-organized a training cycle for potential national candidates, in partnership with Lawyers Without Borders.

In addition to the Special Criminal Court, UNODC also provides assistance to the Central African Republic in the fight against trafficking in persons, in illicit firearms and against corruption.

For more information:

Rules of the Corps spécial d'avocats (in French)

Call for applications (in French)