GENEVA (27 January 2021) – A UN expert said today the Central African Republic’s handover to the International Criminal
Court (ICC) of a former militia commander suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity is a strong warning to
rebel groups, political actors and others who thrive on impunity.
“The transfer of Mahamat Said Abdel Kani on 24 January sends a strong message. Justice is an essential pillar of the
ongoing peace and reconciliation process and the construction of the rule of law,” said Yao Agbetse, the Independent
Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic.
He welcomed the transfer as part of the fight against impunity and the need for justice for the victims of massive
violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the CAR.
The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Said on suspicion of being responsible for crimes including torture,
persecution and enforced disappearance in Bangui in 2013. The Court found there were reasonable grounds to believe that,
under Said's command, the predominantly rebel coalition Seleka had carried out widespread and systematic attacks against
the civilian population and others such as Anti-balaka militias.
Agbetse said he encouraged ICC and Special Criminal Court investigations of people and entities listed by the UN
Security Council Sanctions Committee and supported ongoing investigations to arrest those allegedly responsible for
human rights and international humanitarian law violations, including the leaders of the Coalition of Patriots for
Change and their supporters.
“I call on the Central African Republic authorities to create conditions that will put an end to impunity and bring
justice to the victims,” the Independent Expert said.
*Mr. Yao Agbetse (Togo) is United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic.