By Michael Pavitt |
Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee member Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona faces a war crimes trial after being arrested by French authorities.
An arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which accused the official of “alleged criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the western part of the Central African Republic.”
The alleged crimes took place between at least December 5 in 2013 to December 2014, it was asserted.
Ngaïssona was detained in France and is now expected to face extradition to the ICC in The Hague.
The official, President of the Central African Republic Football Association, has denied all allegations.
The Central African Republic was plunged into conflict between a coalition of armed groups called the Seleka, predominantly composed of Muslims, and the Anti-Balaka – a largely Christian countermovement.
The conflict is believed to have led to the death of thousands of people, while over one million are asserted to have fled the nation.
The ICC has revealed their Chamber found there were reasonable grounds to believe that from at least September 2013 until at least December 2014, a widespread and systematic attack was carried out by the Anti-Balaka against the Muslim civilian population and anyone perceived to support the Seleka.
Ngaïssona was deemed to be the most senior lead and “National General Coordinator” of the Anti-Balaka, with the ICC stating he is alleged to be responsible for crimes committed in this context in various locations.
The alleged crimes include murder, torture, mutilation, intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population and the recruitment of child soldiers.
He had been a contender to become President of the Central African Republic in 2015.
Ngaïssona was barred from standing in the election.
Despite concerns and criticism from Human Rights groups, Ngaïssona was elected as a member of the CAF Executive Committee in February.
According to the BBC, CAF have not provided their position on the arrest of the official, with the continental body stating “Let justice do its job.”
Ngaïssona’s arrest follows the extradition of a former militia leader Alfred Yekatom last month to The Hague.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.