Press Release: 12 December 2018

Situation in Central African Republic II: Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona arrested for crimes against humanity and war crimes


Today, 12 December 2018, Mr Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona has been arrested by the authorities of the French Republic pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court").

The ICC Registrar, Mr Peter Lewis, submitted a request to the French authorities for the arrest and surrender of Mr Ngaïssona to the Court upon completion of necessary national proceedings.

Pre-Trial Chamber II - composed of Judge Antoine Kesia‐Mbe Mindua, Presiding, Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala - issued the warrant of arrest against Mr Ngaïssona on 7 December 2018 for his alleged criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the western part of the Central African Republic ("CAR") between at least 5 December 2013 and at least December 2014. 

The Chamber was satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an armed conflict not of an international character was ongoing on the territory of the CAR since at least September 2013 until at least December 2014 between the Seleka – a coalition of armed groups predominantly composed of Muslims – and the Anti-Balaka – a predominantly Christian countermovement to the Seleka. The Chamber also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, from at least September 2013 until at least December 2014, a widespread and systematic attack was carried out by the Anti-Balaka against the Muslim civilian population and anyone perceived to support the Seleka.

Mr Ngaïssona – who was the most senior leader and the "National General Coordinator" of the Anti-Balaka – is alleged to be responsible for crimes committed in this context in various locations in the CAR, including Bangui, Bossangoa, the Lobaye Prefecture, Yaloké, Gaga, Bossemptélé, Boda, Carnot and Berberati, between at least 5 December 2013 and at least December 2014, as follows:

  • crimes against humanity: murder and attempted murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts; and
  • war crimes: murder and attempted murder, torture, cruel treatment, mutilation, intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population, intentionally directing an attack against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance, intentionally directing an attack against buildings dedicated to religion, pillaging , enlistment of children under the age of 15 years and their use to participate actively in hostilities , displacement of the civilian population and destroying or seizing the property of an adversary.

Pre-Trial Chamber II found reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Ngaïssona is liable for having committed jointly with others and/or through others or having aided, abetted or otherwise assisted in the commission or attempted commission of the abovementioned crimes.

Background: On 30 May 2014, the Government of the CAR referred the situation in the CAR since 1 August 2012 to the Court. The situation reportedly involved alleged crimes committed by both the Seleka and the Anti Balaka. The violence allegedly led to thousands of deaths and left hundreds of thousands displaced. On 24 September 2014, the ICC Prosecutor, Mme Fatou Bensouda, opened an investigation in relation to this situation.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected]

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