January 25th, 2008 10:59 EST
War Crimes to be Investigated by International Criminal Court
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (<"http://www.icc-cpi.int/home.html&l=en">ICC) heads to the Central African Republic (CAR) – where he is investigating allegations of massive war crimes – later this week to meet with victims of violence, representatives of civil society and senior Government officials.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo is scheduled to travel on Thursday to the capital, Bangui, the ICC announced today in a media statement issued from its headquarters in The Hague.
While in Bangui Mr. Moreno-Ocampo will also visit the ICC local field office, which opened last October, and participate in a public dialogue broadcast on local radio in which he will answer questions about his work and the role of the Court.
"The people of the Central African Republic need to know the world has not forgotten them," he said. "Our investigative activities in the CAR can bring to the attention of the international community the terrible problems facing the people here and the need to address them urgently."
Last May the Prosecutor announced that he was opening an investigation into crimes committed between 2002 and 2003, especially the widespread incidence of rape and other forms of sexual violence. The ICC investigation follows a referral by the CAR Government.
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said there were reports that hundreds of terrified women were subjected to sexual violence during the period under review.
"We hear of gang rapes, mass rapes, horrific sexual acts being inflicted on women, young girls, the elderly, in some cases on men. Perpetrators of acts of massive sexual violence, in the CAR and elsewhere, must know that they will be held accountable."
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo's office is also monitoring acts of violence committed since 2005 in the northern part of the country.