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Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2339 (2017) (S/2017/1023)

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Letter dated 6 December 2017 from the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2339 (2017) addressed to the President of the Security Council

The members of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2339 (2017) have the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 28 (c) of resolution 2339 (2017) , the final report on their work.

The attached report was provided to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (20 13) concerning the Central African Republic on November 2017 and was considered by the Committee on 4 December 2017.

The Panel of Experts would appreciate it if the present letter and its annex were brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council and issued as a document of the Council.

( Signed ) Romain Esmenjaud, Coordinator Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2339 (2017)

( Signed ) Luis Benavides, Expert

( Signed ) Mélanie De Groof, Expert

( Signed ) Paul - Simon Handy, Expert

( Signed ) Ilyas Oussedik, Expert

Summary

The deterioration of the security situation described in the midterm report of the Panel of Experts of 2017 (S/2017/639) has continued during the past few months. Self-proclaimed self-defence groups, loosely connected to some members of the anti-balaka movement, have continued to implement their agenda of “liberation” of the south-east of the Central African Republic, specifically targeting Muslims along the way.

The present report identifies some of the individuals directly or indirectly involved in this violent offensive and in particular the attack on Bangassou of 13 May 2017. This includes a wide range of Bangui-based instigators and “warmongers”, whose inflammatory discourse directed against Muslims and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has contributed to the mobilization of the youth and can be considered as incitement to hatred and violence.

Fighting in the south-east of the country has largely contributed to the dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation, with some members of the self-defence groups and their supporters promoting a strategy of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim community. The report documents cases of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including many attacks against peacekeepers and humanitarians, by all parties to the conflict, whether ex-Séléka, self-defence groups or anti-balaka.

The self-defence groups have emerged in a context of sustained control of large parts of the national territory by ex-Séléka factions where they have continued to prey upon the civilian population. Listed individuals Abdoulaye Hissène and Nourredine Adam have failed to reunify the former coalition owing to ongoing tensions between the Rounga and the Goula communities, as well as the conflicting economic agendas of ex-Séléka leaders. The north-west region remains another hot spot, with several armed groups engaged in a violent competition for the control of road axes and revenues associated with transhumance.

Given the regional dynamics at play in the current crisis (trafficking in arms and natural resources, transhumance, etc.), an initiative involving all neighbouring States, such as the African Union road map for peace and reconciliation, may provide an adequate channel to address the causes of the conflict. Lack of preparedness related to this initiative and lack of coordination with the mediation efforts of the Community of Sant’Egidio have so far prevented the start of concrete discussions under the African Union framework and have undermined its capacity to have any impact on the ground.

Limited progress has been registered in the restoration of State authority, not only in areas under control of ex-Séléka factions, which continue to establish illegal parallel administration and taxation structures, but also in the west. With the complicity of some State officials acting outside their official capacity, many anti-balaka elements generate revenues by controlling access to diamond mines and, to a growing extent, gold-mining sites. Although they are also located in the west, areas declared to be compliant under the Kimberley Process from where sourced diamonds can now be exported, appear to be free of the presence of armed groups.

Fighting in the south-east has reinforced the importance of corridors for trafficking in arms and ammunition via the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the Central African Republic for both self-defence and anti-balaka groups, as well as ex-Séléka factions. Several entry points (Bangassou, Béma, Satema) in the area along the border facilitate the movement of military equipment of various origin, including hunting ammunition produced by the Manufacture d’armes et de cartouches du Congo from Pointe-Noire, the Congo.

The arms embargo continues to be the subject of criticism, especially by Bangui-based “warmongers” who portray the embargo as an obstacle to the rearmament of the Forces armées centrafricaines (FACA) and the ensuing “liberation” of the country. Other actors, whether in the Government or among international partners, rather call for the easing of the embargo to enable FACA units that have already been trained to be equipped and deployed, as they could then operate in support of MINUSCA.

Regarding the implementation of targeted sanctions, the authorities of Chad have confirmed and provided information to the Panel on the freezing of assets of Abdoulaye Hissène, including of companies he has worked for (Djiguira and Abi Tchad). Outside this positive development, limited progress has been made. Listed individual François Bozizé has continued to travel in violation of the travel ban, most likely using counterfeit identification documents, while the national authorities of the Central African Republic remain in violation of their international obligations regarding the implementation of the asset freeze.