Central African Republic militia leader surrendered to ICC


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Chadian authorities handed over a former Central African Republic militia leader to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, the court said.

Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The alleged crimes were committed in 2013 and 2014 “in Bangui and other locations in the Central African Republic,” the ICC said in a statement.

What are the allegations against Mokom?

Since late 2012, a civil war has been raging in the Central African Republic between Muslim-majority militias in the “Seleka” coalition and predominantly Christian and animist “anti-Balaka” militias loyal to former President Francois Bozize.

Bozize was ousted in 2013 by Seleka militias.

In its statement, the ICC said it had reason to believe that anti-Balaka forces had conducted attacks on Muslim civilians in 2013 and 2014 as a form of collective punishment of groups they viewed as associated with the Seleka.

The ICC said that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe that Mokom was an anti-Balaka leader and issued a warrant for his arrest in 2018.

Other Central African Republic war crime trials

Last year, the International Criminal Court brought 14 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Mahamat Said.

Mahamat Said is allegedly a former commander of the Seleka rebel coalition. Prosecutors accused Said of running two detention centers where crimes against humanity allegedly took place.

CAR member of parliament and alleged anti-Balaka leader Alfred Yekatom was handed over to the ICC in 2019, where he is being charged with crimes against humanity.

Former CAR football chief Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was arrested in 2018, accused of being the “most senior leader”  of the anti-Balaka.

sdi/msh (AFP, Reuters)


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