BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - The Republic of Congo said on Thursday a Human Rights Watch report accusing Congolese soldiers of killing 18 people while serving as United Nations and African Union peacekeepers in Central African Republic was “biased.”
“I note with regret that the Human Rights Watch report is biased and accusatory,” Communication Minister Thierry Moungalla told a news conference. “If I am not mistaken, it doesn’t include any indication and (...) it’s not even scientific. We don’t give credence to this report.”
Justice Minister Pierre Mabiala said the government would set up a special commission at the criminal court of Brazzaville to hold a trial shortly.
There will be “in the treatment of this case no miscarriage of justice, no impunity (...) as the report of Human Rights Watch seems to claim gratuitously,” he said.
In its report released on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch said Congolese soldiers had tortured to death two anti-balaka leaders in Central African Republic in December 2013, publicly executed another two suspected anti-balaka in February 2014, and beaten two civilians to death in June 2015.
The New York-based rights group also said a mass grave found near a base once occupied by Congolese troops in the town of Boali was found to contain the remains of 12 people identified as having been detained by the peacekeepers on March 24, 2014.
Neither the United Nations nor countries hosting U.N. missions have the authority to prosecute foreign peacekeepers. Punishment is the responsibility of countries contributing troops, but critics claim they often fail to pursue allegations.
Reporting by Philon Bondenga, Writing by Marine Pennetier, Editing by Toni Reinhold