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Central African war crimes suspect “Rambo” handed over to global court

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A war crimes suspected of alleged assassination, expulsion and torture of Muslims in the Central African Republic…

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A war crimes suspected of alleged assassination, expulsion and torture of Muslims in the Central African Republic has been handed over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Tribunal said.

PHILPHOTO: A peacekeeping soldier in Bangladesh stands among houses destroyed by violence in September in the deserted village of Yade, Central African Republic, April 27, 201

7. REUTERS / Baz Ratner / Filfoto

CAR officials transferred Alfred Yekatom on Saturday to Global Court officials who look at more than six years of violence that have destabilized a fragile region in the heart of the continent.

Yekatom, a sitting parliament, once nicknamed “Rambo”, flew out of the country and arrived at the court detention center in The Hague in the early hours of Sunday, officials said there.

There was no immediate comment from Yekatom or any lawyer who represented him.

An investigation commission found that Christian militias under Yekatom had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting Muslims.

International Criminal Court – Established to Prosecute the Worst Crimes When Member States Can not or Will not Do It – Issued a Sealed Arrest Warrant for Yekatom on November 11th.

“We claim that Mr. Yekatom is responsible for several bills of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African republic between December 5, 2013 and August 2014,” prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the International Criminal Court.

“Now he has to respond to court of their actions. “

WARRANTS, CHARGES

Bensouda conducts two separate investigations into conflicts in the Central African republic. Yekatom’s arrest is the first in the latest conflict.

A pre-trial chamber found reason to suspect that Yekatom ruled about 3000 members of a armed group working in the Anti-Balaka movement, who performed systematic attacks on the Muslim population.

Among the allegations relied upon in the judgment are murder, cruel treatment, expulsion, imprisonment, torture, persecution, foreclosure and recruitment of child soldiers under the age of 15.

Den former French colony, one of Africa’s poorest countries, despite the reserves of gold and diamonds, was killed in chaos when most Muslim seleka rebels began to attack cities and arresting territories before they took power in March 2013.

Seleka’s rule led to a backlash from Christian militia called anti-balaka. Under international pressure, Seleka handed over power to a transitional government, but the move effectively separated the country and bloody conflicts continued.

No date has been set for Yekatom’s first appearance, but he has to be presented to a judge for several days according to court rules.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Write by Anthony Deutsch; Editing Robin Pomeroy and Andrew Heavens

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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