CAR militia suspects’ trial starts at ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday started a so-called “confirmation of charges” hearing of two alleged leaders of Central African Republic militias.

Shortly before the hearing, prosecutors published a charge sheet alleging Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona was one of the most senior leaders of Christian-dominated militias, while Alfred Yekatom was a commander in the same force, during fighting in 2013-2014.

Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona were arrested last year and stand accused of several war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and cruel treatment, mutilation, attacking buildings dedicated to religion, and actively using child soldiers in hostilities. The duo have denied wrongdoing.

The Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mostly northern and predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka seized power in March 2013. Their brutal rule gave rise to the Christian militias, who opposed them.

“They knew that mobilizing and using anti-Balaka (Christian) groups fueled by vengeance and hatred of Muslims … and transforming them into a formidable fighting force would, in the ordinary course of events, result in the violent targeting of the Muslim civilian population in western Central African Republic,” the charge sheet said.

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 4421 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network