ASF in the Central African Republic
The many political and military crises that have affected the Central African Republic (CAR) have for decades been undermining the establishment of the rule of law. Justice, perceived as arbitrary and not independent by a majority of the population, is faced with enormous challenges.
Legal personnel, mainly located in the capital Bangui, are too few to provide their services to the country’s 3 courts of appeal and 24 tribunals. Of the hundred or so lawyers officially registered, only one is located outside of the capital. Furthermore, the training of justice actors falls short in terms of quality.
The country’s needs in the justice sector are considerable, both in terms of supply and demand for justice:
- For citizens seeking justice: lack of knowledge of rights and procedures, geographical remoteness, insufficient funds, lack of understanding of the role of justice actors, lack of trust and reluctance (religious, cultural, social) to seek formal justice, etc.
- For legal personnel offering their services: lack of political will, problem of articulation between the formal and informal justice system, insufficient resources (human, financial, material), lack of training/supervision of institutional actors, insufficient geographical coverage, non-conformity, non-existence and inadequacy of the normative framework, corruption and other forms of abuse and lack of synergy between actors.
ASF’s intervention strategy
ASF highlights a holistic approach to access to justice in CAR, whilst supporting community justice actors (neighbourhood chiefs, customary and religious leaders) and strengthening the capacity building of key legal aid actors (bar associations and civil society organisations).
ASF Projects in CAR
Contributing to the effectiveness of the rights of persons in vulnerable situations in CAR
- Activities :
- Technical and financial support (chain reaction) to civil society organisations.
- Capacity building and coordination of neighbourhood chiefs and community relays to ensure that their local activities (conciliation and raising awareness) are based on the principles governing the fundamental rights of detainees
- Coordination of legal aid at the bar level.
- Mobilisation of lawyers for victims of manifest human rights violations.
- Partners :
- Central African Bar Association
- Central African Association of Female Lawyers (AFJC)
- Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace
- Centre for Access to Law and Justice
- Maison de l’Enfant et de la Femme Pygmées (Organisation for the defence of Pygmy women and children)
- Duration: 24 months (January 2017 > December 2018)
- Budget: 800,000 euros
- Funding: European Union
Stabilisation and recovery in CAR
- Objectives :
- Promote the stabilisation and early recovery of Central African society by strengthening local capacities and short and medium-term dialogue in two territories.
- Facilitate access to the law and mediation mechanisms in two identified territories.
- Strengthen the capacities of local actors working on access to law and justice, with a focus on alternative methods of settling disputes.
- Activities :
- Capacity-building of community justice actors (civil society organisations, neighbourhood chiefs, religious and customary leaders, community radio stations).
- Networking of these actors and development of coordination tools.
- Raising public awareness of alternative methods of conflict resolution and the actors that drive them.
- Partners :
- Duration: 30 months (May 2016 > October 2018)
- Budget: 500,000 euros
- Funding: Bêkou Fund of the European Union