from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE upcoming trial of two militia leaders is hailed as a significant step for justice for grave crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom are to appear at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in February next year.
Ngaissona and Yekatom face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with incidents between December 2013 and December 2014 when CAR suffered a coup.
Muslim radicals of the Seleka coalition and the anti-balaka Christian militias perpetrated the violence that left scores dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of people displaced.
“The people of the Central African Republic suffered unspeakable atrocities and horrors during the civil conflict,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch.
“Fair, credible trials of those implicated in the worst of those crimes is crucial for the victims and their families and will be a critical part of ending the cycles of impunity that drive violence in the country.”
While violence has decreased in CAR, armed groups control about 75 percent of the country.
These groups continue to attack and mistreat civilians and attack United Nations peacekeepers amid a lack of accountability for serious crimes.
There are currently 684 000 displaced people inside the country of over 4 million people.
Rebel groups continually violate a peace deal signed with the government in 2019.
Sporadic violence erupts across the country with the Special Criminal Court in the capital, Bangui, hapless.
Ngaissona was arrested in France and Yekatom apprehended by local authorities.
Both were handed over to the ICC in 2018.
– CAJ News