To understand what affected populations may expect, if anything, from accountability and justice measures, we asked a general question about what should be done for the victims of the conflicts in CAR. The most frequent answers were related to reparation and/or restitution for their losses: 60 percent suggested that victims should be restituted what they have lost as a result of the conflicts, 34 percent said they should receive money, 33 percent said they should receive individual compensation (unspecified), and 25 percent said they should receive services such as health care and education. Fewer respondents mentioned accountability and justice as measures that should be taken for victims: 12 percent said those responsible should be punished, and 10% said their suffering should be acknowledged. This, however, does not mean that justice is not important to the victims themselves, as we will see in the next sections. Rather, it points to the wide range of needs expressed by the respondents.
While the question of what should be done for victims was asked in general terms, it is important to note that 65 percent of the population defined themselves as victims. This occurs most frequently in the northern prefectures, Ouham (78%) and Ouham Pende (92%). Respondents provided several rationales as to why they considered themselves as victims. They most reported having lived in conflict-affected areas during periods of violence (59%); having property, animals or land stolen or destroyed (29%); having lost family members (28%); and having directly experienced physical violence (25%). The responses are consistent with data on exposure to violence reported in this study.
More generally, when asked who the victims of the conflicts are, a majority of respondents (75%) identified the whole civilian population, while many also identify specific groups including women (54%), children (46%), and the elderly (25%).
When asked what should be done for victims in the previous section, interviewers made no reference to reparations, justice, or accountability. However, the general question was followed by a series of questions on reparations, defined as the ensemble of measures that can be taken for victims. Furthermore, when asked specifically about the importance of providing reparations, most respondents (97%) reported it was important. They further explained that reparation was important because it would help victims recover from their losses (54%), because victims are poor and need the assistance (34%), because it would help victims mentally to forget about what happened (30%), because it would serve as recognition of their suffering (28%), and that it would help bring peace (23%).
Then, respondents were asked again what should be done for victims but with a specific reference to reparations. Responses were somewhat similar to the more general question regarding what should be done for victims: 54 percent said they should be restituted what they have lost, 41 percent said to give money, 30 percent said to give individual compensation, and 26 percent mentioned improving services including health care and education.
Respondents said most frequently that such reparations should be provided at both the individual and community levels (43%), while 37 percent said it should be at the community level and 20 percent said it should be at the individual level. However, only about half the respondents (47%) said they would accept only community-level reparations. More were willing to accept only symbolic reparations (56%), but only 13 percent were willing to accept no reparations at all.
A majority of respondents (79%) attached importance to the person or organization who should pay for the reparations. They generally said it should be the government (35%) or the international community (31%). Some mentioned the International Criminal Court (9%), the president (7%), and those responsible for the violence themselves (6%).