CAR: Anti-balaka coordinator’s ICC arrest deals major blow against impunity for atrocities

Reacting to the news that French authorities have acted on an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, a former coordinator of the Central African Republic’s (CAR) anti-balaka armed group, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Deputy Director said:

“This is a major step forward in the fight against impunity in the Central African Republic. The ICC arrest warrant for Ngaïssona includes crimes against humanity and war crimes, ranging from murder and torture to forcible deportation and recruitment of child soldiers.

Today’s arrest sends a hopeful message that all those responsible for past and ongoing crimes under international law in CAR will be brought to justice – either at the ICC, in national courts or the country’s hybrid Special Criminal Tribunal.
Samira Daoud, West and Central Africa Deputy Director


“In July 2014, Amnesty International published a dossier naming Ngaïssona and 19 other individuals suspected of responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights abuses committed in CAR since December 2013.

“The ongoing serious violence in CAR – including an attack on a displaced persons camp that killed up to 100 civilians in Alindao last month – is a testament to what happens when impunity reigns. 

“Today’s arrest sends a hopeful message that all those responsible for past and ongoing crimes under international law in CAR will be brought to justice – either at the ICC, in national courts or the country’s hybrid Special Criminal Tribunal.”

Background

The ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber issued an arrest warrant for Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona on 7 December 2018, as part of an ongoing investigation into the situation in CAR opened on 24 September 2014.

Ngaïssona is a former Government minister, President of the CAR football federation and self-proclaimed coordinator of the anti-balaka armed groups.

His arrest comes after Alfred Yekatom, an alleged former anti-balaka commander, was surrendered to the ICC on 17 November and appeared before the Court on 23 November.