Dozens suspected of crimes against humanity at large in CAR

Hassan Bouba Ali, a former rebel chief accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, was arrested then released "a few days later, without any judicial authorisation", Amnesty said in a statement.

A general view of electoral official's convoy escorted by MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) on the road to Bocaranga, Central African Republic, on 23 September 2020. Picture: AFP

LIBREVILLE, Gabon - Dozens of people suspected of committing crimes against humanity remain at large in the Central African Republic, where rebel and government forces are locked in low-level fighting, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

The rights group said that only one person, suspected of involvement in a 2018 massacre of at least 112 civilians, has been arrested out of 25 named in warrants issued by the country's Special Criminal Court (SCC), which tries rights cases.

Hassan Bouba Ali, a former rebel chief accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, was arrested then released "a few days later, without any judicial authorisation", Amnesty said in a statement.

Before he entered politics in 2017, Hassan was number two in an armed group called the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).

American NGO the Sentry has said Hassan and UPC leader Ali Darassa were directly responsible for the 2018 massacre at a displacement camp.

Accused of crimes against humanity, he was arrested on November 19 but was escorted out of prison by gendarmes a week later.

Late that month he received a prestigious award from President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

He was a special adviser to Touadera, who came to power in 2016 and whose government had started integrating rebel figures in a bid to divide the opposition in the former French colony.

One of the world's poorest countries according to the UN, the CAR descended into civil war in 2013.

The SCC is a hybrid court with jurisdiction over crimes under international law and grave human rights violations.

The conflict has calmed over the past three years, although large swathes of territory remain outside central government control.