ICC issues arrest warrant for C.Africa rebel leader

·2-min read

The International Criminal Court said Thursday it had issued an arrest warrant for a Central African Republic rebel leader for war crimes and crimes against humanity during civil strife in 2013.

Nourredine Adam, head of an armed faction of former rebels from the mainly Muslim Seleka group, is wanted over crimes allegedly committed while he was security minister at the time, the ICC said in a statement.

He is wanted for crimes including torture, imprisonment, persecution, enforced disappearance and cruel treatment at detention centres run by the then-ruling regime, prosecutors said.

One of the world's poorest nations, the CAR was plunged into a bloody civil war after a coup in 2013 and while the violence has decreased over the past three years, armed groups still control large swathes of the country.

The warrant was originally issued under seal in January 2019 but ICC judges had now ordered it to be unsealed, the ICC said.

It identified him as Mahamat Nouradine Adam and said was also known by a series of aliases including Nourreddine Adam.

The ICC decided that the warrant "may be communicated to any state or international organisation for the purposes of its execution".

Adam is now the leader of the Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic (FPRC), a former Seleka militia that is now one of the country's remaining main rebel groups.

His group was one of two that last year refused to put down their weapons in response to a ceasefire offer by CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

The 2013 coup toppled president Francois Bozize, who seized power a decade earlier.

The fighting was waged between a coalition of armed groups that overthrew Bozize, the predominantly Muslim Seleka, and militias supporting him, the mainly Christian anti-Balaka.

Adam is already subject to UN sanctions, the arrest warrant says.

Two former Central African warlords, Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom, who led anti-Balaka militias, are currently on trial at the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The trial of Mahamat Said Abdel Kani, an alleged Seleka commander, also accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, is due to open in September.

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