from OMAN MBIKO in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR)
BANGUI, (CAJ News) – THE first verdict of the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in the Central African Republic (CAR) is hailed as an important step in efforts to address atrocities committed in the country.
The court is to issue the verdict on Monday.
Issa Sallet Adoum, Ousman Yaouba, and Tahir Mahamat, alleged members of the Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) rebel group, stood trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
They are accused of responsibility for atrocities committed in May 2019 in the villages of Koundjili and Lemouna, northwest of CAR.
At least 46 civilians were killed and the communities were pillaged.
The attack came three months after the 3R group and 13 other armed groups signed a peace accord.
“The people in the Central African Republic have long experienced brutal, widespread atrocities with impunity,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“The Special Criminal Court’s upcoming verdict in its first trial spotlights the importance of investing in justice efforts for victims of the crimes.”
The (SCC), which became operational in 2018, is a novel court, staffed by international and national judges and prosecutors.
It benefits from assistance by the United Nations and international donors. Its first trial began on April 19.
The court is based in the country’s capital, Bangui, and has authority to try grave crimes committed during successive armed since 2003.
That was a year before forces opposed to Francois Bozizé took up arms against his government.
– CAJ News