I welcome the arrest and transfer yesterday of the suspect, Mr Mahamat Saïd Abdel Kani (''Mr Saïd'') to the International Criminal Court (''ICC'' or the "Court'') to face justice for his alleged crimes as charged before the ICC. He is the third suspect arrested in the context of my Office's ongoing investigations in the Central African Republic ("CAR"), and the first person to be arrested from the Séléka side to the conflict.
On the basis of evidence collected in the course of my Office's independent and impartial investigations, the prosecution alleges that Mr Saïd is criminally responsible for several counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in CAR between April and November 2013.
As I have previously stated, my Office will relentlessly pursue justice for the victims of atrocity crimes in CAR. During my term as Prosecutor, our purpose has been clear. Investigations are, by definition, quiet, confidential processes, but my Office has been hard at work all along, unflinching in its drive to do what it can, in a balanced and committed manner, to bring the perpetrators to justice, notwithstanding the challenges. Yesterday's announcement is another manifestation of that commitment.
I am grateful to all who made this successful operation possible. To be sure, this development is an important step in the fulfilment of our mandate in CAR.
We will continue to exert all efforts to hold to account those responsible for atrocity crimes in CAR, irrespective of which side of the conflict they may be on.
I also wish to express my appreciation and respect to the witnesses from CAR for stepping forward. Without their courage and engagement, the cause of justice would not make progress.
I reiterate that my Office's investigations are ongoing and we continue to closely follow events on the ground in CAR. I remain very concerned about the security situation and reports of serious violence and crimes committed against civilians, as well as international peacekeepers.
In this respect, I stress once again that anyone who commits crimes - be it murder, pillage, rape, or other crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court - is liable to prosecution either before the courts in CAR or the ICC.
We look forward to our continued engagement and collaboration with the Central African Republic to advance accountability for atrocity crimes in the country.
The cycle of violence in CAR must end for the benefit of its people.
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 in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia, Burundi Bangladesh/Myanmar and Afghanistan (subject to a pending article 18 deferral request). The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bolivia; Colombia; Guinea; the Philippines; and Venezuela (I and II) and has completed three other preliminary examinations concerning the situations in Palestine (pending a jurisdictional ruling) as well as Nigeria and Ukraine (pending requests for authorisation to proceed).