Armed militants in the Central African Republic (CAP) agreed to disarm on Sunday during a peace forum in the capital, Bangui, requiring rebels to face justice for war crimes committed during two-year long conflict.
The Defense Ministry of CAP signed an agreement with ten separate rival groups aiming to draw a line under the fight which has killed thousands and displaced nearly a million people in the former French colony, Reuters has reported.
“On the path toward peace, the step made today is a very important one,” said Babacar Gaye, the top UN official in the country.
The clashes started after Christian militias forced Muslim citizens to move from the north side of the country in March 2013.
“The fighters of all the armed groups accept and commit to putting a definitive end to the armed conflicts in CAP,” the agreement said.
“They are committed to disposing their arms and renouncing armed fighting as a means of making political claims and to enter into the process of disarmament, demobilization, reinsertion and repatriation,” it added.
UN peacekeeping mission, which has 10,000 soldiers inside of CAP, supports the idea that some members of armed factions should be absorbed into the CAP national army.
The groups also agreed to free all child soldiers and other children who were used for errands.
Government officials, international partners as well as religious and civil society leaders joined the peace forum to call for the urgent creation of an independent court in the country.
Those associated with “crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” will be trialed according to the agreement.