Central African Republic war crimes suspects deny all charges at opening of ICC trial
OSeveno, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Central African Republic war crimes suspects deny all charges at opening of ICC trial

The International Criminal Court (ICC) trial against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, accused of war crimes such as murder, torture, and attacking the civilian population and religious buildings in the Central African Republic (CAR), region opened Tuesday with both suspects denying all allegations.

The region witnessed an armed conflict between the Seleka and Anti-Balaka groups. Yekatom and Ngaïssona are suspected of holding leadership positions in the Anti-Balaka movement and are accused of attacking the Muslim civilian population in the CAR region for allegedly supporting the Seleka group.

The Pre-Trial Chamber II had advanced the case of Yekatom and Ngaïssona for trial after confirming charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. As per the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber, Yekatom’s and Ngaïssona’s roles allegedly consisted in training people for armed conflict and attacks, stationing children under 15 years old at checkpoints, purchasing weapons and ordering the mass attack on the Muslim civilian population.

As per an ICC press release, “The trial is scheduled to resume on 15 March 2021, when the Prosecution will begin to present its evidence and call its witnesses before the judges.”

Due to the COVID-19 health pandemic, participants of both parties were allowed to attend through video-link.