Central Africans from all sides have come out strongly against a message calling on Christians to avenge the deaths of priests and members of the faithful killed in recent days. That call came in a communiqué from the “Church Defence League”, a hitherto unknown organization which says it wants to “denounce the lack of action by national authorities and Catholic church leaders in the face of violence against priests and religious people”, according to Radio Ndeke Luka.
The Catholic church, Muslim organizations, journalists’ associations and other members of civil society have come out as one to denounce this hate message. “The stated aims of this organization go against the Bible, the aspirations of the Church and its work here in the Central African Republic,” wrote Father Joseph Tanga Koti, Secretary General of the Central African Bishops’ Conference. “There are always enemies of peace who want to create conflict between Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic.”
Another country in need of justice and reconciliation is Mali, where an election campaign launched on July 7 has met little enthusiasm, especially in regions like the North which are still prey to insecurity despite a peace deal signed in 2015. Some 20 candidates are running for the presidency, including the incumbent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of the Rally for Mali (RPM) party and opposition leader Soumaila Cissé of the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD). The international community hopes these elections can save the peace agreement signed after long and difficult negotiations in Algiers. Implementation has been hampered especially by recurrent clashes between movements that signed the deal.
A letter to Federica Mogherini
In Europe, 34 members of the European parliament in Strasbourg have called for the “urgent establishment of a European Union Special Representative for International Humanitarian Law and International Justice”, writes our correspondent in The Hague Stéphanie Maupas. In a June 29 letter to Federica Mogherini, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the signatories suggest this should be decided for the 20th anniversary on July 17 of the adoption of the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty. These MPs want Europe to take the lead to ensure that international humanitarian law is respected. They note “deeply worrying setbacks”, saying that “without stepping-up efforts to promote respect for international humanitarian law and to relentlessly pursue justice for victims, there is a real risk that impunity will become the new norm”. These Euro-MPs think the EU needs a representative that can better represent it in the relevant debates at United Nations and multilateral level. A week after receiving the letter, Mogherini had not replied, and seemed not to be convinced by it. An EU spokesperson told JusticeInfo that the bloc has regional special representatives already covering the issues. It seems that the EU does not seem to see international justice as a global issue.