Central African Republic: confirmation of charges hearings against Maxime Mokom have begun at the ICC
At the International Criminal Court (ICC), confirmation of charges hearings against Maxime Mokom began on Tuesday, August 22, 2023. Considered by the prosecutor as the former head of military operations of the anti-balaka, Maxime Mokom is prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2013 and 2014.
Former Central African militia coordinator Maxime Mokom attends International Criminal Court hearings to determine the exact charges it will bring against him, in The Hague, Netherlands, August 22, 2023. REUTERS - PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW
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With our correspondent in The Hague, Stéphanie Maupas
Confirmation of charges hearings against Maxime Mokom began on 22 August 2023 before the International Criminal Court (ICC). This former coordinator of the anti-balaka militia is being prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in 2013 and 2014 in the Central African Republic.
The challenge of these three days of hearings is, for the prosecutor, to convince the judges to confirm the accusations against Maxime Mokom and to send him back to trial.
See alsoCAR: the ICC looks into the many charges against ex-militiaman Maxime Mokom
The Deputy Attorney General spoke on Tuesday morning. Mandiaye Niang outlined the context in which the crimes were committed: the 2013 war, the fall of then-President François Bozizé, overthrown by the Seleka coalition, and the response of the anti-balaka formed by supporters of the exiled former head of state.
According to prosecutor Niang, in 2014, the anti-balaka used the same modus operandi against the civilian population, as in Bossemptélé. "Once again, they killed several Muslim civilians," said Mandiaye Niang. They looted and burned homes, shops and mosques. Muslim civilians fled en masse or took refuge in the city's Catholic mission. In July 2014, almost the entire population of the city – almost the entire population! – had been evacuated. This modus operandi was repeated in the villages of Guen, Carnot Berberati and Boda.»
The victims' lawyers then spoke as well as the suspect. Maxime Mokom essentially criticized the court for criminalizing resistance in the Central African Republic.
Read alsoWebdoc: Central African Republic: Out of the abyss
Maxime Mokom, 44, was the coordinator of the anti-balaka, self-proclaimed self-defense militias made up mostly of Christian and animist fighters, created in 2013 in response to the capture of Bangui by the Seleka, a coalition of armed groups mainly composed of Muslims opposed to former President François Bozizé.
He faces 20 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for atrocities committed in 2013 and 2014, including attacks on civilians, murder, rape, looting and attacks on mosques.
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