Official opening of a UNODC project office in Bangui, Central African Republic

    

Following the "Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic" finalized in Khartoum and signed on 6 February by the Government of the Central African Republic and 14 armed groups represented, the Regional Representative (RR) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for West and Central Africa, Mr Pierre Lapaque, visited the Central African Republic (CAR) from 19 to 22 February to officially announce the opening of a project office in Bangui.

The UNODC office in Bangui opened in June 2018 following the signing of an agreement with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in March 2018. This partnership between UNODC and MINUSCA aims to support the operationalization of the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in CAR.

The SCC was established by law in 2015 as a national court to judge cases of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in CAR territory since 1 st January 2003. In this context, UNODC's mandate is more specifically to assist the SCC in the development of its legal aid and victim and witness protection services.

During the press conference held on 21 February 2019, the UNODC RR indicated that " urgent action is needed to maintain the momentum created by the recently concluded peace agreement" because " we cannot build a State and a nation without effective, transparent and accessible justice for all".

Photo taken during the press conference 

Concerning both victims and witnesses protection as well as legal aid, UNODC has already provided input to the development of various legal and regulatory instruments that have successfully been adopted, namely the Loi portant Règlement de Procédure et de Preuves (May 2018), the SCC Règlement interieur (October 2018), and the Arrete portant organisation et fonctionnement de l'Organe paritaire chargé de l'admission des candidats au Corps special d'avocats près la Cour penale spéciale (December 2018).

The RR also met with national authorities interested in UNODC'S mandate, including the Prime Minister, and ministers of the Interior, Justice, Mines and Water and Forestry. These exchanges show a strong political will to collaborate with UNODC to combat serious crimes (corruption, trafficking in natural resources, firearms, money-laundering, etc.) that hinder peace, stability and development in the country.

 

The opening of this office in CAR and the deployment of these activities in the country, contribute to the development of a Regional Strategy that UNODC aims to implement in Central Africa to better respond to the interconnected challenges posed by transnational organized crime on the African continent. It also contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Target 16 promoting peace, justice and transparent and effective institutions.

For more information:

UNODC contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals

Official website of the Special Criminal Court of CAR (only in French)

Official website of MINUSCA