Today, 17 November 2018, Mr Alfred Yekatom ("Mr Yekatom") was surrendered to the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court") by the authorities of the Central African Republic ("CAR").
Pre Trial Chamber II of the ICC had issued a warrant of arrest against Mr Yekatom on 11 November 2018 for his alleged criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in western CAR between December 2013 and August 2014.
Pre-Trial Chamber II – composed of Judge Antoine Kesia‐Mbe Mindua, Presiding, Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala – was satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an armed conflict not of an international character was ongoing on the territory of the CAR since at least September 2013 until at least December 2014 between the Seleka – a coalition of armed groups predominantly composed of Muslims – and the Anti-Balaka – a predominantly Christian countermovement to the Seleka. The Chamber also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, from at least September 2013 until at least December 2014, a widespread and systematic attack was carried out by the Anti-Balaka against the Muslim civilian population and anyone perceived to support the Seleka.
Mr Yekatom was allegedly commanding a group of around 3,000 members which operated within the Anti-Balaka movement. He is alleged to be responsible for crimes committed in this context in various locations in the CAR, including Bangui and the Lobaye Prefecture, between 5 December 2013 and August 2014, as follows:
crimes against humanity: murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts; and
war crimes: murder, torture and cruel treatment, mutilation, intentional attack against the civilian population, intentional attack against buildings dedicated to religion, enlistment of children under the age of 15 years and their use to participate actively in hostilities, displacement of the civilian population and destruction of the adversary's property.
Pre-Trial Chamber II found reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Yekatom committed or otherwise ordered, solicited, induced and facilitated the commission of the above mentioned crimes. The Chamber also found reasonable grounds to believe that he is responsible as a military commander.
The ICC Registrar, Mr Peter Lewis, thanked the authorities of the CAR and of the host State, The Netherlands, for their cooperation in the arrest and surrender of Mr Yekatom to the Court.
The initial appearance of Mr Yekatom before the Single Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II, Judge Tomoko Akane, will take place in due course.
Background: On 30 May 2014, the Government of the CAR referred the situation in the CAR since 1 August 2012 to the Court. The situation reportedly involved alleged crimes committed by both the Seleka and the Anti Balaka. The violence allegedly led to thousands of deaths and left hundreds of thousands displaced. On 24 September 2014, the ICC Prosecutor, Mme Fatou Bensouda, opened an investigation in relation to this situation.
For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org