Although accountability and justice were infrequently mentioned as top priorities (1%), nearly all respondents (98%) still believe it is important to hold accountable those responsible for the violence committed during the conflicts. This is consistent with what we have found in other studies. For example, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, 2% mentioned justice in their priorities, and 85 percent believed it is important to hold accountable those responsible for the violence. In northern Uganda, justice was mentioned as a priority by 3 percent of the population; however, 70 percent maintain that it is important to hold accountable those responsible for the violence. These findings highlight that while peace, security and basic needs may be perceived as priorities, accountability is nevertheless important to those who experienced conflict. In CAR, when asked why accountability was important, the respondents provided the following reasons: it was owed to the victims (50%), victims must be compensated (48%), justice must be done (17%), and those responsible must be punished (7%).
The alleged crimes for which perpetrators should be held accountable were defined broadly. Nearly all respondents mentioned the killings and murder (91%), and over half mentioned theft, destruction (66%), and rape and sexual violence (52%). Fewer mentioned displacement (15%), forced recruitment of children (8%) and other crimes. Responses were similar across prefectures, except for rape and sexual violence: Rape and sexual violence were mentioned by 63 percent of the respondents in both Bangui and Ombella M’Poko, but less frequently so in Lobaye (49%), Ouham Pende (49%), and even less frequently in Ouham (28%).
Respondents were further asked who, in their opinion, should be held accountable. They identified a variety of actors reflecting the complex and varied nature of the conflicts in CAR. As with all previous questions in this survey, the questions were open-ended with no response option provided to the respondents; this permits respondents to provide any, and as many, responses as they want. Overall, most respondents pointed to members of the current or previous government. Overall, 39 percent said former president Ange-Félix Patassé should be held accountable, while current president François Bozizé was mentioned by 33 percent. Rebel groups, in general with no attribution to a specific name, were mentioned by 20 percent of the respondents, and the current government by 15 percent. There were important differences across prefectures, with the former president mentioned less frequently in the northern prefectures of Ouham and Ouham Pende, while the current president is most frequently mentioned in Ouham Pende. This reflects the increased manipulation of tribalism and regionalism for political gains.
Although the military has allegedly been involved in many crimes, few respondents mentioned the presidential / republican guard (GP/GR) and the Central African Armed Forces (FACA). This possibly means that respondents believe it is the government and politicians who are ultimately responsible for the violence rather than the military who carry out their orders and plans. Jean-Pierre Bemba, currently facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, was mentioned by 13 percent of all the respondents. He was frequently mentioned in Ombella M’Poko (21%), Bangui (19%), and Lobaye (14%).
Next, respondents were asked who, in their opinion, should be in charge of accountability measures. Although many respondents felt the government should be held accountable, nearly half the respondents (47%) also said that the government itself should be in charge of holding accountable those responsible for the violence. In-depth interviews suggest that this response is associated with the formal judicial system, seen as part of the government. The national judicial system was directly mentioned by 24 percent of the respondents, and the same proportion (24%) said it should be the International Criminal Court.
Since the courts were frequently mentioned as a way to deal with those responsible for the violence, the study further explored the type of judicial measures respondents would like to see implemented in CAR. When given four possible prosecution options, most respondents (52%) favored a trial in CAR by the national court system. The second choice was a trial in CAR by an international court (27%), while 14 percent favored a trial outside of CAR by an international court. Only 7 percent favored no trials at all.
Questions relating to the national judicial sector will be explored in the next section. Before exploring questions about justice, however, respondents were asked a more general question about what should happen to those who committed the violence. The most common answers involved sanctions and punishment: 46 percent said they should confront justice and be tried by a court, 27 percent said they should be put in jail, 21 percent said they should be killed and 19 percent said they should be punished. Fewer said they should be forgiven (5%), ask for forgiveness (5%), and/or tell the truth about their actions (6%).
These data suggest that accountability and justice for grave crimes are important for the population in the CAR. The survey further suggests that respondents see those measures as important for peace. More than four out of five respondents believe it is impossible to have peace if impunity continues.
 Vinck P, Pham PN, Baldo S, Shigekane R Living with Fear: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice and Social Reconstruction in Eastern Congo. Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley; Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University; International Center for Transitional Justice, New York, 2008.
 Pham PN, Vinck P, Stover E, Moss A, Wierda M, When the War Ends. A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice and Social Reconstruction in Northern Uganda. Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley; Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University; International Center for Transitional Justice, New York, 2007.
 International Crisis Group. Africa Report N°136: Central African Republic: Anatomy of a Phantom State. Nairobi/Brussels: ICG; 2007