Central Africa soccer executive faces war crime charges

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Central African Republic’s soccer executive and alleged militia leader, Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona appears before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, January 25, 2019. Koen Van Weel/Pool via Reuters

Friday,25th January,Central African Republic’s top soccer executive Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona ,appeared before the International Criminal Court judges after he was handed over by France to face allegations of war crimes against the Muslim population of his country.

According to his  lawyer Eric Plouvier ,Ngaissona was detained on Dec. 12 while in France on official business.

”He was arrested while on an official mission order saying he was president of the Central African Football Federation,” lawyer Eric Plouvier told the court.

Ngaissona, who has since denied the charges, only spoke in court while confirming his identity when the judge was reading charges placed against him.

ICC prosecutors accuse Ngaissona, 51, of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution, torture, attacking civilians, and recruiting child soldiers.

The next hearing has been set up for June 18, when prosecutors will provide details about their indictment.

Ngaissona was elected top executive of CAF, Africa’s football governing body, last year.

The Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mostly northern rebels known as Seleka seized power in March 2013. Their brutal rule gave rise to the anti-balaka militia, who opposed them.

Meanwhile the ICC  has said it is investigating crimes committed by all parties in the conflict.