The people of the Central African Republic have suffered and endured atrocious crimes in one of this century's violent conflicts. I welcome today's transfer of Mr Alfred Yekatom to the International Criminal Court to face justice for his alleged crimes.
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Our independent and impartial investigation has produced evidence on the basis of which we allege Mr Yekatom is criminally responsible for several counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic between 5 December 2013 and August 2014. Now, he must answer in court for his actions.
Mr Yekatom, like any other suspect before the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court"), is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. Any suspect or accused person appearing before the ICC is entitled to internationally recognised due process guarantees codified in the Rome Statute.
The cause of justice in the Central African Republic has been strengthened by today's surrender.
In accordance with my Office's mandate under the Rome Statute, we aim to shed light on the truth about the crimes committed in the Central African Republic and bring to account those who we allege bear responsibility for atrocity crimes.
To the people of the Central African Republic, I make this pledge: my Office will continue its quest for the truth and to seek justice under the Rome Statute. With firm determination, we are progressing with our investigation into the conduct of all sides.
Today, I also want to pay tribute to the courage and resolve of witnesses in the Central African Republic who continue to come forward to provide their accounts and encourage them to continue to do so. Without them, justice would not be possible.
We cannot undo the suffering that has been inflicted on victims, but we remain committed to doing our part, within our mandate and means, to advance justice and accountability in the Central African Republic.
The ICC's Office of the Prosecutor conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia; and Burundi. Pre-Trial Chamber II is seized of the Prosecutor's request for authorisation to commence an investigation into the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bangladesh/Myanmar; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine; and Venezuela.