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Arrest warrant issued for CAR ex-leader Bozizé

The UN-backed Special Criminal Court (SCC) in the Central African Republic has issued an arrest warrant for the country's exiled former president, François Bozizé, over alleged crimes against humanity committed by the presidential guard during his 2009-2013 rule.

Bozizé, 77, fled CAR following a coup in 2013. He is accused of involvement in crimes including murder, enforced disappearance, torture, and rape by the presidential guard.

Bozizé has been living in exile in Guinea-Bissau but still leads an alliance of rebel groups in CAR called the Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC).

Human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, have supported the warrant and are calling on Guinea-Bissau to extradite Bozizé to the Central African Republic.

Since its inception in 2018, the SCC – a hybrid court with both Central African and foreign magistrates – has issued over 25 arrest warrants. However, it has struggled to enforce them, successfully implementing only one. This involved Hassan Bouba Ali, a former leader of an armed group implicated by NGOs in the 2018 massacre of over 70 civilians. Ali was briefly detained before being released by Central African authorities without any judicial approval.

Central Africans have long suffered human rights violations, both during and after Bozizé's rule. Allegations of misconduct, including of sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, persist.

For more on the latest situation in the country, read: Wagner woes and a rebel crackdown – A briefing on the Central African Republic’s shifting conflict

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