Exiled Ex-President Of Central African Republic Faces International Arrest Warrant For Human Rights Abuses

Exiled Ex-President Of Central African Republic Faces International Arrest Warrant For Human Rights Abuses

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An internationally supported court in the Central African Republic issued an international arrest warrant for exiled ex-President François Bozizé on Tuesday. The warrant pertains to human rights abuses committed by Bozizé from 2009 to 2013, a spokesperson said.

Established in the capital city of Bangui, the Special Criminal Court was created to prosecute war crimes and human rights violations stemming from coups and violence that the country has experienced since 2003.
The court, established in 2015, announced the warrant.

The warrant cited crimes committed under Bozizé’s leadership in a civilian prison and at a military training facility, where people were tortured and killed.

Bozizé, currently in exile in Guinea Bissau, faces extradition challenges due to local laws. President Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea Bissau said he hadn’t received any request from Bangui regarding the arrest warrant and the country’s laws do not allow for extradition.

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Despite the extradition hurdles, Ibrahim Nour, whose father was a victim of the Bossembélé prison atrocities, hailed the warrant as a step towards justice.

The court’s creation has been pivotal in seeking justice for victims, as noted by Human Rights Watch.

Patryk Labuda, an international criminal law expert, emphasized the significance of Tuesday’s warrant in signaling the court’s commitment to prosecuting state-led wrongdoing.

Bozizé, who rose to power in a 2003 coup and was ousted by Seleka rebels in 2013, has faced sanctions from both the U.S. and the UN for perpetuating violence. The civil war ensuing from his ousting has claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions, with ongoing conflicts despite a 2019 peace deal by the UN.

Audrey Yamalé, representing the Association of Victims of the 2013 Crisis, welcomed the warrant but urged Guinea Bissau’s cooperation in Bozizé’s extradition to ensure justice for the victims.

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Melissa Enoch

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