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Confirmation of Charges Hearing in Commander Case Starts Today

Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) begins the pretrial hearing in the case of a former commander of the Seleka rebel group, who is charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic. The case is an important…
An ICC billboard in Bangui in September 2021, announcing Said’s confirmation of charges hearing.
News

Special Criminal Court Charges Sanctioned Commander

(Bangui) – The Special Criminal Court (SCC) in the Central African Republic, in an important step for justice, has brought charges against Capt. Eugène Ngaïkosset, known within the country as “The Butcher of Paoua,” Human Rights Watch said. His…
Special Prosecutor Toussaint Muntazini (right) and five other judges of Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court (SCC) sit at the National Assembly in Bangui, having been sworn in on June 30, 2017.
News

Law Could Strengthen Effective Prosecution of War Crimes

(Kyiv) A bill adopted by Ukraine’s parliament on May 20, 2021, could help authorities prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity domestically, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts on the…
Lawmakers attend a parliament session in Kiev, Ukraine December 21, 2017.
News

Milestone for Justice for Victims of Conflict Since 2012

Update: On February 8, 2021, the International Criminal Court announced that it had postponed the start of the trial to February 16. Human Rights Watch will send an update on February 15 to confirm that date. Correction: This news release has been…
Alfred Yékatom, left, and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, right, taken on Nov. 23, 2018 and Jan. 25, 2019 respectively when they appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
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What is the background in the Central African Republic to these cases?   How did the ICC become involved in the Central African Republic? Who are Alfred Yékatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona? When did Yékatom and Ngaïssona first face…
Alfred Yékatom, left, and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, right, taken on Nov. 23, 2018 and Jan. 25, 2019 respectively when they appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
News

Verdict in Dominic Ongwen Case Set for February 4

(The Hague) – The International Criminal Court’s trial of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Dominic Ongwen, in which a verdict is due on February 4, 2021, has been a significant step toward justice for atrocities committed by the group in…
Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, waits for the judge to arrive as he made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.
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Who is Dominic Ongwen? What is the Lord’s Resistance Army? How did the ICC come to bring charges against Ongwen? What are the charges against Ongwen? How does Ongwen’s experience as a child soldier affect judicial proceedings against…
Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, waits for the judge to arrive as he made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.
News

Important Step Needs Follow-Up with Higher Level Suspects

The surrender by Central African Republic authorities of the first Seleka-rebel suspect to face charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an important step toward justice for serious crimes committed by the two main warring factions in the…
ICC permanent premises
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Human Rights Watch Interviewed Militia Leader on Video in 2014

(Nairobi) – 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 today,…
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ICC Rules Trial of Militia Leaders Can Proceed

On December 11, the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for Central African Republic militia leaders Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom. While they can appeal the…
Anti-Balaka fighters in Gambo, Mboumou province, Central African Republic, on August 16, 2017.
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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Your Excellency, We respectfully call on your government to immediately ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which Ukraine signed in 2000 and take all necessary measures to fight…
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Donors, Government Should Increase Support

(Nairobi) – The Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court should intensify investigations and urgently recruit additional staff to deliver justice for war crimes and other serious offenses, Human Rights Watch said today. The new…
International Special Prosecutor Toussaint Muntazini (left) and former Central African Republic prime minister Mathieu Simplice Sarandji (right).
News

Raids, Arbitrary Arrests, Torture of Activists

(Berlin) – Russian authorities have brought unfounded terrorism charges against 24 Crimean Tatars, 20 of whom were arrested during heavily armed raids on their homes in the spring of this year, Human Rights Watch said today. Security…
Crimean Tatar activists protest politically motivated arrests of terrorism charges in Moscow’s Red Square on July 10, 2019.
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Nairobi Conference Commits to Greater Efforts to Fight Impunity, Defend Rights

Last week, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss “combating impunity and upholding human rights as key contributors to peace and security.” Representatives from the organization’s 12…
Jean Baptiste Nguondija, a resident of Ngbada, Central African Republic, by the grave of his 10 year-old daughter Nathana Poura. Nguondija has lost 5 children since the conflict began in 2013.
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Militia Leaders Should Face Justice Instead

(Nairobi) – Prosecutors in the Central African Republic should investigate militia leaders recently awarded government positions. On March 24, a presidential decree named the armed groups leaders Ali Darassa, leader of the…
From left to right: Sidiki Abass, Mahamat Al Khatim, and Ali Darassa.
News

Special Criminal Court Critical to Accountability for Past Crimes

“Our brothers, who have attacked us, must be brought to justice,” a victim of the violence in the Central African Republic told me last week in the country’s capital Bangui. “Justice counteracts this culture of violence… It…
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There is no doubt a peace deal could be transformative for the Central African Republic. Armed groups control 80 percent of the territory. Tens of thousands of people languish in internal displacement camps in the center of the country…
Anti-Balaka fighters in Gambo, Mboumou province, Central African Republic, on August 16, 2017.
News

Arrest of Former Militia Leader a Welcome Step

On December 12, Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, a one-time self-declared political coordinator of anti-balaka militias, was arrested in France on International Criminal Court (ICC) charges. With his arrest, the prospects for justice for grave crimes committed…