Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, in relation to the escalating violence in the Central African Republic
The Office of the Prosecutor expresses its concerns over the unfolding events in the Central African Republic (CAR), and in particular reports of serious on-going crimes. The deteriorating security situation over the past several days has contributed to the escalation of unlawful killings, sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and other grave crimes, across the country. The situation worsens daily and thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence.
War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide fall under the subject matter jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. I hereby call upon all parties involved in the conflict, (including former Séléka elements and other militia groups, such as the anti-Balaka), to stop attacking civilians and committing crimes, or risk being investigated and prosecuted by my Office. The victims of such crimes cannot be left unheard.
I welcome the international community’s efforts to stabilise the security situation in the country and end the violence, noting in particular the arrival of the United Nations- and African Union-backed forces in the capital. I also commend the planned international commission of inquiry to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and abuses of human rights in CAR by all parties since 1 January 2013. This initiative will galvanise collective efforts to bring perpetrators of serious crimes to justice.