He may be the first Seleka to be tried by the ICC. In any case, that is what the court in The Hague must decide during the hearing on confirmation of accusations that began on Tuesday. Fourteen cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Crimes that Mahamat Saïd Abdel Kani is alleged to have committed in Bangui while he was at the head of several important security organizations (OCRB then CEDAD) between April and November 2013.
The victim’s lawyer spoke during the introductory remarks. “Justice is done in their name,” she wanted to remind the court. Crimes must not go unpunished, she emphasized.
The prosecutor made his presentation on the merits. She worked to convince the court that Abdel Kani would be sentenced on 14 counts. She contextualized and insisted on the systematic nature of the crimes. They targeted populations suspected of supporting the overthrown President François Bozizé.
She tried to show the position as a hierarchical superior, both ordering party and co-author of Abdel Kani’s crime. “Saïd was in charge of more than 60 parts of Seleka,” said Eric Mac Donald, deputy prosecutor. On your screen, you can first see the full list of Seleka members that were produced at the material time and authenticated by an “insider” witness. And this list shows that Said was responsible for it. ”
The prosecutor exchanged facts, flow charts and photographs, sometimes not hesitating to touch on the emotional chord with chilly testimonies, like this victim describing her abuse, or the pictures of this woman and her missing children.
The defense points to the weaknesses of the case Mahamat Saïd Abdel Kani remained insignificant and noted regularly. Her defense highlighted the chaos that existed at the time, and did not allow to attribute facts to this commander Seleka. Mahamat Saïd Abdel Kani is mainly presented as the head of the Central Office for Suppression of Banditry at the material time. However, it is difficult to prove that he led the OCRB, because the disorganization ruled, his lawyers believe.
The defense claimed that the right to a defense was not respected and that the accusations are a series of unjustified and unjustified accusations. She also attacked the composition of the indictment. “The defense and the chamber are in the position of having to try to reconstruct the argument itself, which the prosecutor should have explicitly presented in his PCB,” Maitre Dov Jacobs pointed out. In the end, we can see that the prosecutor applied what can be called an Ikea method to his demonstration. The reader has on the one hand a statement, on the other hand an ERM rating and must reconstruct the demonstration himself. “
In the coming days, the court must therefore decide whether the evidence is sufficient for a trial to take place. If the court considered that the answer was “yes”, then Mahamat Saïd Abdel Kaniser would be the first member of Seleka to be tried before this international court.
Two other cases concerning the Central African Republic are ongoing in The Hague. Patrice Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekathom Rhombot, both in the anti-balaka movement, are currently being tried by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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