Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
BREAKING NEWS

Central African militia suspects, one a soccer boss, hear war crimes charges

Central African militia suspects, one a soccer boss, hear war crimes charges
FILE PHOTO: Central African Republic's soccer executive and alleged militia leader, Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona appears before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, January 25, 2019. Koen Van Weel/Pool via Reuters -
Copyright
POOL New(Reuters)
Euronews logo
Text size Aa Aa

THEHAGUE (Reuters) – Two alleged leaders of Central African Republic militias, one of them prominent in African football, heard details of war crimes accusations against them at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday.

Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom, who deny wrongdoing, were attending a so-called “confirmation of charges” hearing where prosecutors outline their case. Judges will then decide if there is enough evidence to move forward with a trial.

Shortly before the hearing, prosecutors published a charge sheet alleging Ngaissona was one of the most senior leaders of Christian-dominated militias, while Yekatom was a commander in the same force, during fighting in 2013-2014.

The Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mostly northern and predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka seized power in March 2013. Their brutal rule gave rise to the Christian militias, who opposed them.

Ngaissona and Yekatom were accused of participating in a plan to target Muslims thought to support the Selaka and committing crimes including extermination, persecution, murder, torture and intentional attacks against civilians.

“They knew that mobilising and using anti-Balaka (Christian) groups fuelled by vengeance and hatred of Muslims … and transforming them into a formidable fighting force would, in the ordinary course of events, result in the violent targeting of the Muslim civilian population in western Central African Republic,” the charge sheet said.

Ngaissona was arrested in France in December and extradited to the court. He had been travelling to Paris in his then-capacity as a member of the executive council of the African Football Federation (CAF), Africa’s football governing body.

Yekatom, at the time a sitting member of parliament, was handed over by the Central African Republic to the ICC in November 2018.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.