ICC opens new preliminary investigation into CAR killingsListen /
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced it is opening a new preliminary investigation into what it calls "heinous" crimes taking place in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement on Friday, which comes on the heels of several public statements urging the groups engaged in the conflict to cease the violence.
The probe "constitutes a new situation", she clarified, unrelated to the situation previously referred to the Court by CAR authorities in 2004.
"The allegations include hundreds of killings, acts of rape and sexual slavery, destruction of property, pillaging, torture, forced displacement and recruitment and use of children in hostilities. In many incidents, victims appear to have been deliberately targeted on religious grounds".
Ms. Bensouda said her Office will begin collecting and analysing information to determine whether there is a "reasonable basis" to proceed with the investigation.
The ICC will coordinate its efforts with the African Union and the United Nations in CAR, as well as engage with the country authorities on how to bring perpetrators to account, she added.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General's Special Representative in CAR, Babacar Gaye, met with the Head of State of the Transition in the Central African Republic, Mrs. Catherine Samba- Panza for the first time.
During the encounter, Mr.Gaye encouraged Ms. Panza to prioritise justice, reconciliation and political dialogue.
Jocelyne Sa mbira, United Nations.