World, Africa

UN-backed court issues warrant for Central African Republic's ex-president

Francois Bozize, accused of crimes against humanity, lives in exile in Guinea-Bissau

30.04.2024 - Update : 01.05.2024
UN-backed court issues warrant for Central African Republic's ex-president

KIGALI, Rwanda

A UN-backed court said Tuesday it has issued an arrest warrant against the Central African Republic's former President Francois Bozize over crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the military during his tenure.

The alleged crimes include murder, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other inhumane acts, committed between 2009 and 2013, said a statement by the Special Criminal Court (CPS), based in the capital Bangui.

The crimes are said to be committed by Bozize’s presidential guard and other forces at a civilian prison and at the military training center in the town of Bossembele.

The judges said “the existence of serious and consistent evidence” against Bozize is likely to incur his criminal liability in his capacity as hierarchical superior and military leader.

The international warrant was issued on Feb. 27, but made public on Tuesday, according to the CPS.

Bozize, 77, ruled the Central African Republic from March 2003 to March 2013 when he was overthrown. He had also seized power in a coup, and is living in exile in Guinea-Bissau since March 2023.

The court called for Guinea-Bissau's cooperation to “arrest” and “hand over the suspect.”

The Central African Republic’s Court of Appeal in September last year sentenced Bozize to hard labor for life for “undermining the internal security of the state” and “assassinations.”

Bozize now serves as coordinator of the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC), the main rebel coalition formed in 2020 to overthrow his successor, Faustin Archange Touadera.

The court, set up in 2015 with UN sponsorship, is in charge of investigating war crimes committed since 2003 in the country, which took independence from France in 1960.​​​​​​​

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