The armed conflict occurred from October 26, 2002 to March 15, 2003. James P. Rudolph joins JiC for this fascinating guest-post on the ICC's preliminary investigation into ongoing violence in the Central African Republic. The Situation in the Central African Republic II (CAR II) focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved CAR government forces under President Francois Bozize, Seleka rebel armed group, and anti-balaka rebel armed group. (BBC), On May 24, 2008, Belgian authorities arrested rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo following a warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, a former minister and leader of armed groups in the conflict-hit country, "has been arrested by the authorities of the French Republic", the Hague-based court said. On January 11, 2013, President Bozize and Seleka signed the Libreville agreement which established a ceasefire and a political transition process. On December 10, 2012, Seleka launched a rebellion. Ratification and Implementation Status: Central African Republic deposited its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute on 3 October 2001. In 1960, the CAR gained independence from France. President Patasse-led government forces clashed with General Bozize-led rebel forces. Mr. Bemba is the first defendant in the ICC's investigation into the Central African Republic. The International Criminal Court (ICC) announcement on July 16, 2020, of the upcoming trial of two militia leaders is a significant step for justice for grave crimes committed in the Central African Republic, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, releasing a video interview with one of the accused. By late December, Seleka had taken over the northern and central regions of the CAR and advanced towards Bangui. Judges will likely take months to decide whether to send the suspects to trial. On May 22, 2007, the OTP opened a formal investigation. Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, the coordinator of a mainly Christian militia faction in the Central African Republic and a senior African football executive, has been transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face accusations of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The CAR is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on October 3, 2001. Central African Republic (I and II) The Central African Republic has experienced several periods of armed conflict. In January 2014, President Djotodia resigned and Catherine Samba-Panza was declared interim president. The government of the Central African Republic referred the case to the ICC on December 22, 2004. (Coalition for the International Criminal Court). Despite peace attempts in July 2014 and May 2015, the conflict between Seleka and anti-balaka has continued unabated. The letter refers the situation of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed anywhere on the territory of the Central African Republic since 1 July 2002, the date of entry into force of the Rome … In a September 2014 report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the Seleka committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Hague-based court will also review ongoing violence near the border with Chad and Sudan. The Central African Republic (CAR) is “descending into chaos“. In mid-2004, judicial authorities started criminal proceedings against Patassé and his military commanders for crimes committed against civilians. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. “. The ICC has opened two investigations into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, focusing on crimes committed from 2002 to 2003 and crimes committed since 2012. Central African Republic’s government asked the ICC in 2014 to investigate crimes allegedly committed by both the Seleka and the anti-Balaka. The armed conflict occurred from August 1, 2012 to present. For more information on the Situation in CAR II, please visit the ICC page. On September 24, 2014, the OTP opened a formal investigation. President Bozize was elected in 2005 and, after numerous delays, re-elected in 2011. From 2005 to 2012, amidst growing public discontent with President Bozize’s policies, armed groups formed to overthrow the CAR government. General Bozize declared himself president. On March 23, 2013, Seleka attacked Bangui; President Bozize fled the country. So far, no Seleka fighters have been publicly targeted by the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. On June 3, 2015, Catherine Samba-Panza, the then transitional president of the Central African Republic (CAR), promulgated organic law 15/003 establishing the Special Criminal Court (SCC). France on Wednesday arrested a former Central African Republic militia leader and key figure in the country's football hierarchy on war crimes charges, the International Criminal Court said. In the past few months, violence and instability in the country have proliferated. You can read more of James' posts here. In a pretrial at the International Criminal Court prosecutors accused former Congolese rebel warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba of ordering mass rape to terrorize civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR) to prevent a coup against CAR's president Patasse. On February 7, 2014, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in the CAR, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary investigation. Editor’s note: this article was first published on JiC on 11 December 2013. In August 2012, Seleka was formed from Muslim armed groups, under Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, to overthrow President Bozize. On December 22, 2004, after receiving a referral (dated December 22, 2004) from the government of the CAR of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary investigation. Fighters from … Central African Republic signed the Rome Statute on 7 December 1999. Human rights lawyer Mathias Morouba thinks that a conviction of Bemba will have a deterrent effect on human rights violators because they do not want to face charges for their crimes. The MLC attacked General Bozize-led rebel forces and civilians, pillaged villages, and targeted men, women, and children for rape and sexual violence. In the same report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that anti-balaka committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Cooperation underpins efforts to deliver justice to the victims”: the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, meets a government delegation from the Central African Republic. The CAR is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on October 3, 2001. On 13 April 2006, the Court of Cassation of the Central African Republic investigating charges or murder and rape committed by former President Ange-Felix Patasse and Congolese Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba said that they could not secure the arrest of the suspects despite international arrest warrants, and they requested the ICC to take responsibility. On February 7, 2014, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in the CAR, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary investigation. However, Seleka continued to attack Christian civilians and suspected anti-balaka supporters, pillage towns, and target men, women, and children for rape, sexual violence, and mutilations. Beginning in 2013, fighting between the Seleka, a brutal rebel coalition of mostly Muslims from the Central African Republic's northeast, and loosely organized Christian and animist militias called anti-balaka displaced hundreds of thousands of people. ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II joins Yekatom and Ngaïssona cases Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, following the recent arrests of suspects concerning the situation of Central African Republic: “Our investigation into the conduct of all sides to the conflict continues” Nevertheless, ICC’s move marks an important step in advancing justice for victims of crimes committed in the Central African Republic since 2013. In November, the French Foreign Minister even used the ‘g-word’ to describe the situation in the CAR, declaring that “[t]he country is … According to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the Hague-based court will also review ongoing violence near the border with Chad and Sudan. The effects for the two countries on whose behalf the Court is acting – DRC and the Central African Republic (CAR) – are a bit more ambiguous. In 1993, in the CAR’s first multi-party democratic elections, President Patasse was elected. Photo: Rebel in northern CAR 02/Wikimedia Commons. The Central African Republic has established a Special Criminal Court in the capital, Bangui, to try serious international crimes committed in the conflict, alongside the ICC… Bemba's defenders rejected the accusations claiming that Bemba's forces were under "command and control" of the Patasse government. On January 2, 2013, Seleka agreed to enter peace talks. On March 15, 2003, General Bozize-led rebel forces marched into Bangui and blocked President Patasse from returning. AI also encourages the government to implement legislation in compliance with the Rome Statute in order to overcome impunity. (Reuters), The ICC tries Jean-Pierre Bemba in The Hague, but because the Court only has limited resources, many other perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity evade prosecution. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. The MLC was a rebel armed group formed by Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The same long time that we find in The Hague, where the ICC has pronounced only one judgment - the acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba - twelve years after the opening of its first investigations in the Central African Republic. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. In October 2001, after another military coup attempt, President Patasse attempted to arrest the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Bozize, on suspicion of his involvement with the coup. FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. On May 22 2007, the ICC opened an investigation into crimes committed in the Central African Republic. Central African Republic’s government asked the ICC in 2014 to investigate crimes allegedly committed by both the Seleka and the anti-Balaka. On May 30, 2014, the CAR referred itself to the ICC. The CAR is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on October 3, 2001. Central African Republic's government on Tuesday initialed a peace deal with 14 armed groups following unprecedented talks aimed at ending more than … Situation in Central African Republic II: Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona arrested for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor should accept a request from the Central African Republic government to open a new investigation into serious crimes committed in the country. The investigation focuses particularly on sexual violence, which appears to have been a central feature of the conflict. The ICC's first investigation in the Central African Republic, related to an earlier conflict in 2002 and 2003, has yet to successfully hold any individuals to account for the crimes. The Situation in the Central African Republic I (CAR I) focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved CAR government forces under President Ange‐Felix Patasse, rebel forces under General Francois Bozize, and the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC). On September 13, 2013, under international pressure to control Seleka violence, President Djotodia announced the dissolution of Seleka. Situation: Central African Republic The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has received a letter sent on behalf of the government of the Central African Republic. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an investigation in the Central African Republic (CAR) into allegations of mass rape and war crimes committed in 2002 and 2003. Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) to refer the situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He was arrested on May 24, 2008, and the opening of his trial is scheduled for April 27, 2010. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is allegedly the President and Commander in Chief of the rebel movement "Mouvement de Libération du Congo" (MLC) and is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, such as mass rape and torture. ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II joins Yekatom and Ngaïssona cases. Within the Situation in CAR II, there are no cases. On May 30, 2014, the CAR referred itself to the ICC. The Central African Republic (CAR) is the third country to refer its war crimes situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC). ICC: Former Central African Republic militia leader arrested By MIKE CORDER December 12, 2018 Within the Situation in CAR I, there are the following cases: The Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo and The Prosecutor v. Bemba et al. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an investigation in the Central African Republic (CAR) into allegations of mass rape and war crimes committed in 2002 and 2003. International Criminal Court Investigations CAR, Congo's Bemba Accused at Hague of Ordering Rape(January 12, 2009), Warlord Trial Gives Victims Hope (December 8, 2008), ICC Secures First Arrest in Central African Republic Situation (May 25, 2008), Central African Republic: ICC Opens Investigation (May 22, 2007), CAR Referral to the ICC Should Be Accompanied by Judicial Reforms to Address Impunity (January 12, 2005), General Articles on International Justice, General Documents, Analysis and Articles on the ICC, International Criminal Tribunals and Special Courts, Links and Resources on International Justice. Despite the initial excitement over the CAR’s first peaceful transition of power, factions of the military attempted to overthrow President Patasse in 1996 and 1997. For more information on the Situation in CAR I, please visit the ICC page. In May 2008, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for former militia leader and Vice-President of the DRC, Jean-Pierre Bemba. On October 25, 2002, General Bozize-led rebel forces again clashed with President Patasse-led CAR government forces, which were supported by Libyan forces and MLC forces. In response to Seleka’s campaign of violence, Christian armed groups formed the anti-balaka (“anti-machete”) and began their own campaign of violence against Muslim civilians and suspected Seleka supporters. On December 11, the International Criminal Court partially confirmed charges against two former leaders of one of the main armed groups in the Central African Republic. Rebels in the Central African Republic. The Office of the Prosecutor has vowed to investigate allegations of serious crimes committed in the country since July 1, 2002. The CAR is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on October 3, 2001. On April 13, 2013, Seleka leader Djotodia was declared interim president. From the 1960s to the 1990s, CAR leaders ruled as dictators and were replaced in military coups. Amnesty International (AI) commends this action but urges the CAR government to launch its own inquiry into human rights atrocities, as the ICC cannot prosecute crimes committed prior to its July 2001 inception. Central African Criminal Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Article 152, Central African Criminal Code, Title 4, Chapter 2, Article 153, Central African Criminal Code, Title 4, Chapter 3, Article 154, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Evolution of International Criminal Justice. The Central African Republic (CAR) is “descending into chaos“. This massacre in Central African Republic (CAR) unfolded in May alongside coordinated attacks on two neighbouring villages in Ouham-Pendé prefecture. Yekatom was transferred to the ICC by Central African Republic authorities on November 17, 2018. On February 7, 2014, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in the CAR, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary investigation. Bemba finds himself in the dock for the crimes allegedly committed by members of his Mouvement pour la libération du Congo (MLC) in the CAR in November 2002 – March 2003. Mr. Bemba and President Patasse made an agreement that MLC forces would support CAR forces in exchange for the CAR government not supporting the DRC government. 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