Central African Republic Warlords’ Trial Begins

The trial of two warlords from the Central African Republic (CAR) opened Tuesday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Anadolu Agency reported.

Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona entered not guilty pleas to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the case, which was initially scheduled to begin Feb. 9 but was postponed due to coronavirus issues.

“The trial’s opening started with the reading of the charges against the accused persons. The Chamber was satisfied that they understood the nature of the charges,” the court said in a statement.

The trial will resume on March 15 when the prosecution will present evidence and call witnesses.

The court said due to the pandemic, some participants took part via video link.

Access to the premises is restricted due to the pandemic.

Yekatom surrendered to the court on Nov. 17, 2018 under a warrant, and he initially appeared before the court that Nov. 23, according to the court.

Yekatom is accused of crimes committed in various locations in the African country, including Bangui and the Lobaye prefecture, from Dec. 5, 2013 to Aug. 2014.

Ngaissona’s arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 7, 2018. He was arrested by French authorities and transferred to an ICC detention center on Jan. 23, 2019.

He is responsible for crimes in the Central African Republic from Dec. 5, 2013 to December 2014, according to court records.