Chad hands over CAR fugitive Gawaka to the International Criminal Court
Wednesday March 16 2022
Chad has handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) a national of the Central African Republic to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mr Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka was surrendered to the ICC on March 14 by the authorities of the Republic of Chad on account of an ICC warrant of arrest issued under seal in December 2018.
Mr Gawaka is suspected of having committed these crimes jointly with others and/or through others in furtherance of a policy to target the Muslim population and others perceived to support the Seleka or to be “foreigners” in Bangui and in western CAR; or aided, abetted or otherwise assisted in the commission or attempted commission of these crimes.
The Chamber had found reasonable grounds to believe Mr Gawaka, a national of the Central African Republic, born in December 1978 in Bangui, was a national coordinator of operations of the Anti-Balaka and, in this capacity, he is suspected of being responsible for the crimes.
When issuing the warrant of arrest, Pre-Trial Chamber II found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that an armed conflict was ongoing on the territory of the CAR from at least September 2013 until at least December 2014 between the Seleka – a coalition of armed groups predominantly composed of Muslims opposed to former president François Bozizé, and the Anti-Balaka – a movement opposed to the Seleka and supportive of former president Bozizé.
The Chamber found reasonable grounds to believe that from at least September 2013 until at least December 2014, an attack was conducted by the Anti-Balaka against the Muslim civilian population and those perceived as collectively responsible for, complicit with, or supportive of the Seleka.
Mr Gawaka will soon appear before the Pre-Trial Chamber II composed of Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, Judge Antoine Kesia‐Mbe Mindua and Judge Tomoko Akane.
Crimes against humanity consist of murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, and other inhumane acts.
War crimes consist of murder, torture, cruel treatment, mutilation, intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population, and intentionally directing an attack against personnel, installations, material, units, or vehicles involved in humanitarian assistance.
In May 2014, the Government of the CAR referred the alleged crimes committed by both the Seleka and the Anti-Balaka to the ICC.
The violence allegedly led to thousands of deaths and left hundreds of thousands displaced. In September 2014, the ICC Prosecutor opened an investigation into the matter.