Why Central African Republic’s Hybrid Tribunal Could be a Game-Changer

Justice in Conflict

People shelter around a derelict plane at a temporary camp for internally displaced persons at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic (Photo: Reuters) People shelter around a derelict plane at a temporary camp for internally displaced persons at the airport in Bangui, Central African Republic (Photo: Reuters)

A new international criminal tribunal is born. Following pressure from international human rights groups and the United Nations, the Central African Republic (CAR) has established a hybrid tribunal with the aim of prosecuting atrocities committed by Séléka and anti-Balaka forces during the country’s latest spate of political violence. As readers will know, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is already investigating crimes in CAR. But if the Special Criminal Court (SCC) of CAR emerges as something more than a stillborn institution or paper tiger, it could set new precedents for shared responsibility between domestic and international institutions in prosecuting international crimes.

When the ICC become a reality in 2002, there was a widespread sense that the institution would be a court to end all courts. Proponents were…

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