from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR)
Central African Republic Bureau
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE surrender of former rebel leader, Maxime Mokom, is a major step for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in efforts to bring justice for crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The ex-leader of the Christian extremist anti-balaka forces surrendered on Monday, with neighbouring Chad playing an important role.
This is on the basis of a 2018 warrant for Mokom’s arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in CAR between December 2013 and at least December 2014.
“To have Maxime Mokom in ICC custody is a major step for justice for victims of atrocities committed across the Central African Republic,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch.
Mokom joins another high-level anti-balaka leader, Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, at the ICC.
He was arrested in December 2018.
“We hope that securing the surrender of high-level Seleka suspects implicated in serious crimes in the Central African Republic to face justice also will be a priority,” Keppler said.
The above-mentioned crimes were allegedly committed in connection with an anti-balaka policy to target the Muslim population and others perceived to support Seleka forces in the volatile country.
Conflict has wrecked CAR since independence from France in 1960.
In 2012, a coalition of rebel groups took over major towns, forcing then-president, Francois Bozize to flee the following year.
– CAJ News