A United Nations-backed court in the Central African Republic has charged ex-rebel leader Abdoulaye Hissene with crimes against humanity and war crimes. Hissene, the former military chief of the FPRC faction of the Seleka rebellion, was arrested on Monday and has been held in detention. The charges against him relate to several crimes committed in 2017 during his leadership of the FRPC.
The CAR, one of the poorest countries in the world, experienced a sectarian conflict after Seleka rebels, a coalition of armed groups primarily composed of Muslims, removed President Francois Bozize in early 2013. The Special Criminal Court (SCC), which handles cases concerning war crimes and crimes against humanity dating back to 2003, brought the charges against Hissene.
Hissene has faced United Nations sanctions since 2017 for his involvement in acts that undermine the peace, stability, or security of the CAR. He has also been accused of attacks against UN missions or international security presences, including MINUSCA, the European Union Missions, and French operations supporting them. The UN has highlighted Hissene’s links with ex-rebel group leader Maxime Mokom, who faces charges before the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Muslim civilians in the CAR in 2013 and 2014.
The charges against Hissene mark a significant development in the pursuit of justice for the atrocities committed during the sectarian conflict in the CAR. The trial proceedings will be closely monitored by international observers and human rights organizations.