General Lamine Cissé
Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations
Peace-Building Office in the Central African Republic
United Nations Peace-Building Office
in the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
Paris 30 January 2006
The International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), an ecumenical organisation with consultative status at the United Nations, at the Council of Europe and at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is anxious to convey to you its serious concerns following the events of the night of 2 January 2006 in Bangui.
According to information we have received, BONUCA is alleged to have handed over Staff Sergeant Claude SANZE to the Gendarmerie (SRI - Investigative Police Department) although he had surrendered himself in order to ensure his protection by BONUCA following the crime he committed.
It seems unlikely that BONUCA could have been unaware of the socio-political situation in the Central African Republic or of the heightened tension in the city, especially in Bangui’s 4th arrondissement, since the elections in May 2005. BONUCA must also have known that Staff Sergeant Claude SANZE was wanted by the "Libérateurs". His execution in the SRI premises was surely foreseeable.
If BONUCA feared for the security of its buildings, why did it not call on FOMUC (Multinational Force of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community) present in Bangui for help?
The handing over of a wanted man who ran a serious risk of being tortured and killed, when that same person had surrendered and sought international protection with BONUCA, raises serious questions about BONUCA itself.
The excuses put forward by BONUCA, in an attempt to wash its hands of all responsibility for Staff Sergeant Claude SANZE’s execution, pose a serious problem. BONUCA, in its capacity as a UN body and not a body run by the Central African Republic, was not permitted to act in this way in condemning to certain death a man who sought international protection while denying that this action had any foundation.
We therefore ask you to:
Open an enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the handing over by BONUCA representatives of Staff Sergeant Claude SANZE to the Central African police authorities;
Identify clearly those responsible for the handing over of this man which led directly to the victim’s death, despite the fact that he had sought refuge with you;
Punish those found responsible and bring them before the relevant tribunals.
In view of the seriousness of the events in question that compromise the value of the remit to provide international protection, we hope you will give this letter all the attention it deserves.
Sylvie de Pontual
Copies sent to:
UN Secretary General in New York
BONUCA Head Office in New York
Ms Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Commission on Extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions