(Nairobi) – The surrender of Maxime Mokom, a former leader of anti-balaka forces in the Central African Republic, is a significant step forward for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its efforts to bring justice for crimes committed in the country, Human Rights Watch said today.
Chad played an important role by surrendering Mokom to the ICC on March 14, 2022, on the basis of a 2018 warrant for his arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic between December 5, 2013 and at least December 2014. The crimes were allegedly committed in connection with an anti-balaka policy to target the Muslim population and others perceived to support Seleka forces in the country. Ensuring that other high-level suspects, particularly those implicated in abuses by Seleka forces, are held to account also is vital.
“To have Maxime Mokom in ICC custody is a major step for justice for victims of atrocities committed across the Central African Republic,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “Mokom joins another high-level anti-balaka leader at the ICC, Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, who was arrested in December 2018, and we hope that securing the surrender of high-level Seleka suspects implicated in serious crimes in the Central African Republic to face justice also will be a priority.”