France on Wednesday extradited a member of Africa’s top footballing body to the International Criminal Court in The Hague where he faces war crimes charges, the ICC said.
Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, who sits on the board of the Confederation of African Football, is charged with coordinating so-called anti-Balaka militia which emerged after civil war broke out in the Central African Republic in 2013.
The former CAR sports minister was arrested in France on December 12 on an ICC warrant, and a court in Paris ruled on December 31 that he could be transferred to the tribunal in the Netherlands.
Ngaissona has denied the charges.
The court said Ngaissona was extradited by France Wednesday “pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic.”
“This transfer followed the completion of necessary national proceedings in France”, it said.
A date for Ngaissona’s first appearance at the ICC would be announced “soon”, the court said. The hearing would verify his identity and preferred language for legal proceedings, and he would be officially “informed of the charges against him”, it added.
Ngaissona, who is head of the Central African Republic’s football association, was controversially elected to the executive board of the CAF general assembly in February.
The Balaka militia he was allegedly involved with were set up to defend Christian communities from mostly Muslim rebels during the conflict in his country.
The militia are accused of a host of human rights abuses including mass killings and mutilations.
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