Central African Republic

Situation in the Central African Republic



Situation referred to the ICC by the CAR Government: December 2004

ICC investigations opened: May 2007

ICC investigations closed: 16 December 2022

Focus: Alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of a conflict in CAR since 1 July 2002, with the peak of violence in 2002 and 2003. (See CAR II for the situation in CAR from 2012 onward.)

Regional focus: Throughout CAR

Jurisdiction in the general situation 

CAR ratified the Rome Statute on 3 October 2001 and referred the situation in its territory since 1 July 2002 to the ICC. The ICC therefore may exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on the territory of CAR or by its nationals from 1 July 2002 onwards.

Context and alleged crimes 

The ICC's investigation in CAR I focussed on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of a conflict in CAR since 1 July 2002, with the peak of violence in 2002 and 2003. (See CAR II for the situation in CAR from 2012 onward.)

In opening the investigation in May 2007, the Office of the Prosecutor issued a press release stating: "Based on a preliminary analysis of alleged crimes, the peak of violence and criminality occurred in 2002 and 2003. Civilians were killed and raped; and homes and stores were looted. The alleged crimes occurred in the context of an armed conflict between the government and rebel forces. This is the first time the Prosecutor is opening an investigation in which allegations of sexual crimes far outnumber alleged killings. (…) Hundreds of rape victims have come forward to tell their stories, recounting crimes acted out with particular cruelty. Reports detailing their accounts were ultimately provided to the Prosecutor's Office. Victims described being raped in public; being attacked by multiple perpetrators; being raped in the presence of family members; and being abused in other ways if they resisted their attackers. Many of the victims were subsequently shunned by their families and communities."

The investigation has produced one main case, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, involving charges of the following crimes:

  • war crimes: murder, rape and pillaging; and 

  • crimes against humanity: murder and rape

Proceedings began in another case involving charges against five suspects for offences against the administration of justice allegedly committed in connection with the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.

On 16 December 2022, ICC Prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan KC announced the conclusion of the investigation phase in the situation in the Central African Republic I.

  • 2


  • 6

    Warrants of arrest


On 8 June 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court decided, by majority, to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo from the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Guilty verdicts on 19 October 2016 and sentences on 22 March 2017. Appeals on verdict and sentence on 8 March 2018. New sentences for Mr Bemba, Mr Mangenda and Mr Kilolo pronounced on 17 September 2018. Convictions and acquittals in relation to all five accused are now final. Imprisonment sentences were served.