CAR : Hearing Opens For Ex-Rebel Leaders

The two anti-Balaka strongmen are facing charges at the ICC for crimes committed in the Central African Republic from 2013 to 2014

Hearings of two former members of a Christian militia in the Central African Republic (CAR), accused of war crimes has started at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague yesterday, September 19, 2019. The self-declared political leader of the mainly Christian anti- Balaka movement, Patrice- Edouard Ngaissona, who was also a senior official in the Confederation of African Football (Caf), faces more than 100 charges. A lawyer for the second accused, a militia commander, Alfred Yekatom argued that the defence team had been blocked from seeing witness statements.

On 25 January 2019, Patrice- Edouard Ngaïssona appeared before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court at the seat of the ICC in The Hague (The Netherlands). The Chamber verified his identity to ensure that he was clearly informed of the crimes he is alleged to have committed and of his rights under the Rome Statute of the ICC in a language he fully understands and speaks. Mr Patrice Edouard alongside Alfred Yekatom are accused of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance and other inhumane act. There are also war crimes like, cruel treatment, mutilation, intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in humanitarian assistance, intentionally directing an attack against buildings dedicated to religion, pillaging, enlistment of children under the age of 15 years and their use to participate actively in hostilities, displacement of civilian population.

Thousands died in violence that followed the seizure of power in the CAR by a mainly Muslim rebel group in 2013. The court in The Hague is considering whether there are other evidence for the trials to go ahead.

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