The Constitutional Court of Central African Republic Thursday declared that former president François Bozizé is not fit to run for president in the December polls. The court held that Bozizé did not meet the eligibility criteria provided in the CAR constitution. The constitution requires that candidates for election must not have been the object of a sentence to an afflictive or defamatory penalty and be of good morals.
Bozizé held power from 2003 to 2013 but fled the country in 2013 after a coup by Seleka, a Muslim militia group. His rule was marred with allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is also linked to the actions of anti-Muslim militia groups that targeted Muslim civilians after his ouster. He returned to the country in December 2019 despite an international warrant being issued against him in March 2014 for murder, arrest, arbitrary detention and torture, kidnapping, judicial and extrajudicial executions. The former president declared his intention to run for president in July 2020.
The CAR court cited UN security council sanctions against Bozizé as well as the warrant against him by the high court as clear evidence of his failure to meet the eligibility test. The decision of the Constitutional Court is not subject to appeal. Bozizé joins a list of several candidates whose candidacy was invalidated on account of belonging to armed groups.