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Justice is the key ingredient for sustainable peace in CAR

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On February 6, the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and 14 armed groups signed a long-awaited peace agreement aiming to end the country's devastating civil war. While the deal was celebrated as an important step towards peace both in CAR and abroad, now many Central Africans are asking themselves: is this the peace they have been waiting for?

This is not CAR's first peace agreement. In fact, several deals have been signed and eventually collapsed in the last few years. While there are reasons to be optimistic that this time will be different, it is important to be clear-headed about the challenges that lie ahead. Much depends on how the agreement's many compromises are interpreted and implemented. One compromise in particular - justice for human rights abuses - will require creative thinking as the peace process moves forward.

Dealing with justice was a difficult component of the peace talks mediated by the African Union. A cloud of uncertainty hung over the outcome until the very last day. In fact, the text of the peace agreement only became known after it was leaked on February 8, two days after the President, Faustin-Archange Touadera, formally endorsed the document. Many worried that the government was reluctant to admit that it had agreed........

© Al Jazeera