Jurisdiction in the general situation
On 3 October 2001, CAR ratified the Rome Statute and on 30 May 2014, it referred the situation in its territory since 1 August 2012 to the ICC. The ICC 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, and in this specific situation is focussing on alleged crimes committed since 1 August 2012.
Context and alleged crimes
The ICC’s investigation in CAR II focussed on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of a conflict in CAR since 1 August 2012. The 2012 conflict reportedly involved alleged crimes by both Muslim Séléka and Christian anti-balaka groups; the violence allegedly led to thousands of deaths and left hundreds of thousands displaced. The UN has also issued warnings of the high risk of genocide in CAR.
In opening the investigation in September 2014, the Office of the Prosecutor issued a press release stating: “The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that both the Séléka and the anti-balaka groups have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, rape, forced displacement, persecution, pillaging, attacks against humanitarian missions and the use of children under fifteen in combat. The list of atrocities is endless. I cannot ignore these alleged crimes.”
The Prosecutor alleges that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the following crimes have been committed in CAR since 2012:
- war crimes: murder, rape, pillaging, attacks against humanitarian missions, and the use of children under fifteen in combat; and
- crimes against humanity: murder, rape, forced displacement, and persecution