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Jan 11, 6:33 AM EST

In Central African Republic, 'impunity on staggering scale'


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JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- The lack of justice in Central African Republic is so acute that some victims are forced to live daily lives alongside their aggressors, Amnesty International said Wednesday, and it urged the international community to help counter "impunity on a staggering scale" for war and other crimes.

The London-based group's new report says years of deadly violence between Christians and Muslims have devastated an already deeply impoverished country.

Hundreds have escaped in large-scale prison breaks, and many accused of the worst crimes have never been arrested. Just eight of 35 prisons function. Few courts operate outside the capital, Bangui.

Thousands of victims of rape and other war crimes "are still waiting for justice to be served," said the group's Central Africa researcher, Ilaria Allegrozzi.

Of the 384 people arrested by U.N. peacekeepers and national authorities between September 2014 and October of last year, those included "only a handful of high-profile individuals suspected of having committed the most serious crimes," the new report says.

Amnesty called for international donors to help rebuild the justice system and create a Special Criminal Court. In November, a donors' conference in Brussels was asked for $105 million over five years to help meet those goals.

Violence continues in parts of Central African Republic, which descended into sectarian conflict in 2013. The country held successful democratic elections last year, though many remote areas effectively remain outside the government's control.

The new Amnesty report is based on dozens of interviews with people involved with the country's justice system and with victims.

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