Arusha, June 11, 2014 (FH) – The transitional government of the Central African Republic announced Tuesday that it has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the most serious crimes committed in that country since August 1, 2012. The invitation came in a submission to the ICC in May this year, Radio Ndeke Luka reported on Wednesday.

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“The intervention of the International Criminal Court now seems to us indispensable to bring to justice those responsible for the worst crimes, who must not remain unpunished,” said Justice Minister Isabelle Gaudeuille in a government statement read on the state radio.“Therefore, in the name of the CAR, the transitional President (Catherine Samba Panza) submitted on May 30, 2014, a strong and clear message against impunity. She asked Madame the Prosecutor of the ICC to investigate the situation in the CAR as of August 1, 2012,” said the Minister.   “The courts of the CAR, which have been damaged in a lasting manner by the crimes that our country has suffered in the last few years, are not currently able to conduct on their own the investigations and prosecutions that are indispensable with regard to these crimes,” she further explained. The government promised that “the justice system of the CAR will lend its entire support to the ICC to ensure that the authors of these crimes are prosecuted and rendered unable to cause further harm, so as to put an end to the cycle of violence and to impunity for these criminals.”  ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda launched a preliminary examination at the beginning of February into the crimes committed in the CAR since March 2013.In May, a first team from the ICC went to Bangui as part of this examination, according to Ndeke Luka, an independent radio station supported by Fondation Hirondelle.

The ICC is already trying a case related to the CAR, namely that of former Congolese Vice-President-Pierre Bemba, who is accused of crimes committed in 2002 and 2003 in the Central African Republic. The Congolese politician is on trial for crimes committed by members of his former rebel movement, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) which were sent to help the CAR president of the time, Ange-Félix Patassé.ER/ JC