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Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 04:16 GMT 05:16 UK
Hague referral for African pair
Jean-Pierre Bemba (L) and Felix Ange Patasse
The CAR has been unable to detain Mr Bemba (L) or Mr Patasse
The top court in the Central African Republic has referred former President Felix-Ange Patasse to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Mr Patasse was referred, along with the vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba, on charges of rape and murder.

Also included in the referral are a French policeman and two aides of ex-president Mr Patasse.

Despite international arrest warrants, none of the five has been detained.

'Best route'

The CAR justice ministry says the charges are linked to actions allegedly taken during the suppression of a coup instigated in October 2002 by current CAR President Francois Bozize.

The Congolese Liberation Movement, under Mr Bemba, came to help Mr Patasse.

Human rights activists have said about 400 people were victims of atrocities committed in the suppression of the coup.

The five were charged in September 2004 but the CAR says it is unable to arrest them

Justice ministry spokesman David Celestin Gamou told the AFP news agency: "The only way to prevent total impunity is to call for international help. The International Criminal Court should be the best route to follow."

Mr Gamou said the CAR's courts would not be able to hold a proper trial.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Central African Republic
25 Feb 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
03 Feb 06 |  Country profiles


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