Chadian authorities on Monday handed over a former Central African militia leader to the International Criminal Court on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Hague-based court announced.
Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka is suspected of crimes committed in 2013 and 2014 “in Bangui and other localities in the Central African Republic”, the ICC said in a statement.
Mokom was a leader of an “anti-Balaka” group, militiamen from the Christian and animist majority of the CAR. In 2019, he became Minister of Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation (DDRR).
The ICC has “found reasonable grounds” to suspect that Mokom, in his capacity as “national coordinator of anti-balaka operations”, was responsible for crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, persecution and ” enforced disappearance. the court said in its statement.
On the war crimes front, he is suspected, among other things, of having “intentionally directed an attack against the civilian population” and an attack against humanitarian assistance personnel as well as of having recruited combatants from the age of 15 years old.
One of the poorest countries in the world, the CAR came into conflict in 2013 when President François Bozizé was overthrown by a rebel coalition called the Séléka, drawn largely from the Muslim minority.
The coup sparked a sectarian bloodbath between “anti-balaka” forces and Seleka rebels.
Two former anti-Balaka leaders, Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom, are already on trial at the ICC.
A suspected Seleka leader will stand trial at the ICC in September to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.