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Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2454 (2019) (S/2019/930)

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Letter dated 6 December 2019 from the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2454 (2019) addressed to the President of the Security Council

The members of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to resolution 2454 (2019) have the honour to transmit herewith, in accordance with paragraph 4 of resolution 2454 (2019), the final report on their work.

The attached report was provided to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic on 13 November 2019 and was considered by the Committee on 2 December 2019.

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

(Signed) Mélanie De Groof
Expert

(Signed) Ilyas Oussedik
Expert

(Signed) Anna Osborne
Expert

(Signed) Émile Rwagasana
Expert

Final report of the Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic extended pursuant to Security Council resolution 2454 (2019)

Summary

During the reporting period, the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic, signed in Bangui on 6 February 2019, remained the reference framework for the Government of the Central African Republic and the 14 signatory armed groups. Although efforts were made by regional and international partners in support of the Agreement, its implementation remained limited. The Government and some leaders of armed groups accused each other of not meeting their respective commitments, as illustrated by the discussions on the temporary joint security units.

On the ground, armed groups continued to commit violations of the Agreement in large numbers, prompting both national and international actors to demand punitive actions against perpetrators. Among others, Abdoulaye Miskine, who threatened to overthrow the Government on a number of occasions after having signed the Agreement, was the subject of several calls for national and international sanctions.

Since 14 July 2019, fighting has occurred in Vakaga Prefecture, where the Front populaire pour la renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC), led by sanctioned individuals Nourredine Adam and Abdoulaye Hissène, recorded major military defeats. Though tensions among ethnic groups were presented as the cause of the conflict, the fighting has resulted from competition for territorial control between armed groups, including FPRC, the Mouvement des libérateurs centrafricains pour la justice and the newly created Parti du rassemblement de la nation centrafricaine.

Clashes in Vakaga Prefecture fuelled arms trafficking in the area, as all of the armed groups involved in the fighting acquired weapons, as well as recruiting fighters, from the territory of the Sudan. Information is also provided on the acquisition of arms (at times in exchange for natural resources) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by elements of the Union pour la paix en Centrafrique (UPC) and anti-balaka groups based in Basse-Kotto Prefecture.

Many violations of international humanitarian law were reported, including cases of illegal detention by anti-balaka groups, as well as by the ex-Séléka factions FPRC, UPC and Mouvement patriotique pour la Centrafrique. The Panel also investigated the involvement of armed group members in attacks against civilians and humanitarians, as well as in sexual violence and gender-based violence, in particular in the Kaga Bandoro/Batangafo/Kabo triangle.

With regard to natural resources (gold and diamonds), trafficking remained rampant in all regions of the country. In this respect, developments in the Kaga Bandoro and Ndélé areas in particular are addressed in the report. Findings are presented on the new illegal taxation structures of ex-Séléka factions, on cases of trafficking, including one involving a close associate of Abdoulaye Hissène, and on a mechanical exploitation project in areas under FPRC control. Information is also provided on the situation in Bozoum (Ouham Prefecture), where tensions have emerged around the activities of a gold mining company.

With the support of international partners, the rapid deployment of the Armed Forces of the Central African Republic (FACA) continued outside the capital, especially in the east. FACA soldiers were present in 15 of 16 prefectures, but they continued to face significant challenges, especially in areas where armed groups were present and FACA still had limited operational capacity. The ongoing strengthening of the Presidential Guard is also addressed in the report.

Instability in areas close to the borders, in particular in the Vakaga and Haut-Mbomou Prefectures, resulted in decisions by the authorities of the Sudan and South Sudan to close their borders with the Central African Republic (only partially and temporarily in the case of South Sudan).

The report also includes information on the reported involvement of ex-Séléka members in the establishment of an armed group belonging to an international network and targeting Western, Israeli and Saudi interests in the Central African Republic and beyond.

With regard to the implementation of sanctions, the report addresses cases of travel ban violations by Nourredine Adam, whom the Panel found to have been using a Sudanese diplomatic passport bearing the name Mohamed Adam Brema Abdallah. The report also includes a description of the positive efforts of the Government of the Central African Republic to identify the assets of sanctioned individuals and the steps that remain to be taken to freeze all assets identified.