Surrender of Alfred Yekatom raises questions on accountability for sexual violence

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The Prosecutor v. Alfred Yekatom

Today, Alfred Yekatom (Yekatom) will appear for the first time before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC). On 17 November 2018, Yekatom was surrendered to the ICC to face trial for crimes allegedly committed during the recent conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) between the Séléka, a predominantly Muslim coalition of armed rebel groups, and the anti-Balaka, a countermovement composed predominantly of Christians. As the alleged military commander of an anti-Balaka group, Yekatom’s Arrest Warrant contains eight counts of war crimes and seven counts of crimes against humanity including murder, deportation, torture, enforced disappearance, mutilation, persecution and pillaging. Notably, it does not contain specific charges of sexual violence.

Following an outbreak of violence between 2002 and 2003, the CAR I Situation was opened at the ICC in 2007 upon referral by the Government of the CAR in 2004. In 2014, the Prosecutor announced the opening of the CAR II Situation, separate from the first investigation, focused on the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since 2012 by both the Séléka and anti-Balaka groups.

Read the full statement by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice here.