THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The International Criminal Court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for a former Central African minister for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed during sectarian hostilities in 2013.
Prosecutors at the international tribunal have charged Mahamat Nouradine Adam with crimes including torture, persecution, enforced disappearances and cruel treatment in two detention centers in the capital, Bangui. The warrant was first issued under seal in January 2019.
A judge who reviewed evidence submitted by prosecutors in support of their arrest warrant request wrote that it was “sufficient to establish reasonable grounds to believe that Adam bears individual criminal responsibility for the crimes listed in its terms of reference.
Prosecutors say Adam was part of the Central African Republic government in 2013 after the predominantly Muslim Séléka group seized power and forced then-president François Bozizé out of office.
Mainly Christian militias known as the anti-Balaka then retaliated, targeting civilians and sending most Muslim residents of the capital, Bangui, fleeing in fear.
Fighting between the two groups left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced in 2013 and 2014.
Prosecutors alleged that when the Muslim group invaded Bangui in 2013, Adam was “considered the most powerful person in the Seleka, even more influential than Michel Djotodia”, who was named president replacing Bozize.
The court said in its warrant that the United Nations imposed a travel ban on Adam, but he “still appears to be moving unhindered in several countries in the region.” He is also on a UN sanctions list for “participating in or supporting acts that undermine the peace, stability or security of CAR”, the court heard.
Two alleged anti-Balaka commanders, Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, are already on trial at the ICC; another was handed over to court earlier this year.
A suspected Seleka commander, Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, was taken to court last year. His trial is due to begin in September.