(Nairobi) – The Central African Republic government should coordinate with United Nations peacekeepers to ensure that war crimes suspect Hassan Bouba, who was released from detention in defiance of court orders and escorted home by national gendarmes on November 26, 2021, is returned to custody, Human Rights Watch said today. Bouba – a minister and former rebel group leader in the Central African Republic – was arrested on November 19 on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges brought by the country’s war crimes court, the Special Criminal Court (SCC). On November 26, according to a press release published by the SCC, national gendarmes escorted Bouba out of the Camp de Roux prison where he was detained and took him to his home. Bouba was scheduled to appear before the SCC on November 26 for a custody hearing but did not do so. “If the Central African Republic wants to address impunity for atrocities, the government needs to support the Special Criminal Court and Bouba’s immediate re-arrest,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “Allowing Bouba to be released in defiance of the Special Criminal Court’s orders undermines efforts to advance justice and increases the possibility that he could flee. International partners – including the US and French governments, the European Union, and the UN peacekeeping forces – should insist the court’s orders are followed and that Bouba is taken back into custody as soon as possible, to face due process.” .
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