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Central African Republic ex-strongman faces charges of crimes against humanity

Former rebel leader Abdoulaye Hissene has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes by a -backed court in the Central African Republic (CAR). The country, one of the poorest in the world, has been plagued by sectarian conflict since 2013 when Seleka rebels, a coalition of armed groups predominantly made up of Muslims, removed President Francois Bozize from .

The Special Criminal Court (SCC), established in Bangui, handles cases related to war crimes and crimes against humanity dating back to 2003. Hissene, the former military chief of the FPRC faction of the Seleka , was arrested on Monday and has been in since then. His charges include multiple crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 2017 when he was the leader of the FRPC.

Hissene has been under United Nations sanctions since 2017 for his involvement in acts that undermine the peace, stability, or security of the CAR. He has also faced sanctions for attacks against UN missions, international security presences, and French operations that support them. The UN has highlighted his connections with Maxime Mokom, the leader of the anti-Balaka armed groups, which were formed in response to the Seleka’s takeover of Bangui.

Mokom, who is currently facing charges for war crimes and crimes against humanity brought before the International Criminal Court, is accused of directing attacks against civilians, murder, , pillaging, destruction of property, and attacks against buildings, including mosques. His self-proclaimed targeted Muslim civilians in the CAR between 2013 and 2014.

The SCC’s efforts to address war crimes and crimes against humanity in the CAR highlight the country’s commitment to justice and accountability. Despite its challenging socio-economic situation, the CAR is determined to hold those responsible for atrocities accountable and towards reconciliation and stability. The charges against Hissene and Mokom serve as a reminder that impunity will not be tolerated, and those who commit such heinous acts will be brought to justice.

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