The first trial organized by the SCC boycotted by defense lawyers

AA / Peter Kum

The first trial organized by the Special Criminal Court (CPS) in the Central African Republic, which should take place this Tuesday, April 19, was boycotted by defense lawyers, we learned from the Court and local media.

“The first special criminal court hearing which should open today for the crimes of Lemouna and Koundjili has been boycotted by the defense lawyers”, local radio Ndeke Luka announced.
This information was confirmed to Anadolu Agency by the spokesperson for the Special Court, Jean-Bruno Malaka, who also indicated that the hearing scheduled for April 19 has been postponed until April 25.

The first hearing of the CPS which should open this April 19 in Bangui would deal with the murders of Lemouna and Koundjili in Ouham-Pendé, where more than 40 civilians had been massacred in May 2019 by rebels of 3R (“Return , Complaint and Rehabilitation”).

Three alleged perpetrators, members of the 3R rebel movement are thus expected to take the stand. The three accused, Issa Sallet Adoum alias Bozizé, Yaouba Ousmane and Mahamat Tahir are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In addition to the charges of Issa Sallet Adoum, there is also rape.

Denouncing several times the slowness in the work of the Special Criminal Court, created in 2015, the NGO Human Rights Watch welcomed this first step.

“The first trial held by the Special Criminal Court represents a historic moment for the victims of the Central African Republic who have continued to demand justice for the heinous crimes committed during the successive conflicts in the country”, declared, on April 15, in a statement, Esti Tambay, senior legal adviser in the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch.
And to add: “This innovative court – which combines international and national experiences to hold accountable those responsible for serious crimes – has the potential to become an important model of justice that other countries could adopt. »

It will also have taken many years for the CPS to bring together its magistrates. On February 2, the last two judges of the Appeals Chamber, Frenchman Olivier Beauvallet and German Volker Nerlich, were sworn in in Bangui.
The CPS is, moreover, often criticized for its opacity. In December 2021, the NGO Amnesty International denounced this “lack of transparency” of the Court and affirmed that it was “very difficult, if not impossible, to find information on the progress of the proceedings in progress”.

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