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Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, at yesterday’s media briefing in the Central African Republic: “my Office continues to investigate all alleged crimes, no matter on which side of the conflict.”

Photo: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the President of CAR, H.E. Faustin-Archange Touadera
Photo: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the President of CAR, H.E. Faustin-Archange Touadera

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your presence at this media briefing as I conclude my two-day visit to the country. Before turning to your questions, allow me to say a few words.

At the outset, I want to remind the people of Central African Republic ("CAR") that my Office's independent and objective investigations continue into all sides of the conflict – meaning, in particular into the alleged conduct of anti-Balaka as well as Séléka groups.

This is the third time I have had the honour of officially visiting the Central African Republic in my role as ICC Prosecutor, and I am pleased to be back in the capital. Since my last visit to CAR in March 2018, much progress has been made in our investigations, with many important developments.

I seize this opportunity to extend my sincere appreciation to the people and the Government of CAR for the warm reception and welcome extended to me and my delegation during this visit. I am also grateful for the logistical support and the security arrangements put in place in connection with our visit.

My purpose in travelling here was twofold: first, to update the authorities on the progress of my investigations into all alleged crimes, and to update His Excellency, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra on the upcoming trial against the accused, Mr Alfred Yekatom and Mr Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, scheduled to start on the 9th of February 2021.

I thanked the President and the authorities of CAR for their continued assistance as we approach this trial date, and am grateful for their renewed engagement as we pave the way for continued cooperation.

In addition to constructive exchanges with His Excellency, the President, I also had the opportunity to brief and exchange with the Prime Minister, as well as the Minister of Defence and Army Restructure, and the Minister of Public Security and the Interior, during a programme of important and fruitful discussions.

As my Office continues its preparations for trial, it is important to underscore the excellent cooperation we have received thus far from the CAR government, and their renewed commitment to do justice for the wrongdoings of the past.

Such cooperation is crucial as we pursue our work to uncover the truth of what happened in CAR, as the ICC and national judicial authorities seek to bring to justice those who committed atrocity crimes in the country, irrespective of which side of the conflict they are on.

Indeed, we look forward to continuing on the same path towards greater accountability.

While trials at the International Criminal Court are open to the public, as I have stated previously, our ongoing investigative activities are confidential.  I cannot and will not discuss details of our investigations in public. But rest assured, they continue, important progress is being made, and results will be made public in due course.

My Office remains committed to ensure justice for the victims of atrocity crimes in CAR, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the authorities towards that necessary objective.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely Burundi; Côte d'Ivoire; Darfur (Sudan); Georgia; Kenya; Libya; Mali; Uganda; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the People's Republic of Bangladesh/Republic of the Union of Myanmar; and Afghanistan (currently subject to process envisaged under article 18 of the Rome Statute). The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Nigeria, the Philippines; Ukraine and Venezuela; whilst the situation in Palestine is pending a judicial ruling.

For further details on "preliminary examinations" and "situations and cases" before the Court, click here, and here.

Source : Office of the Prosecutor