Defendants, prosecutor appeal after CAfrica war crimes case
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Three members of an armed group who this week were convicted for crimes against humanity after a landmark trial in the Central African Republic have filed appeals, the court said on Thursday.
Issa Sallet Adoum, Ousman Yaouba and Tahir Mahamat were accused of taking part in an attack by the 3R armed group in May 2019 in which 46 villagers in northwest CAR were massacred.
After its first-ever trial, the Special Criminal Court, a tribunal of local and international judges, on Monday sentenced Adoum to life and the others to 20 years.
Confirming remarks made by a defence attorney after the trial, the trio have lodged appeals against the ruling, court officials told AFP.
Separately, the court's prosecutors, who had requested life terms for all three, said in a statement that they too would file an appeal.
One of the poorest and most volatile countries in the world, CAR plunged into civil war in 2013 largely along sectarian lines.
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Violence fell back in intensity in 2018 but as recently as early 2021, two-thirds of the country lay in the hands of armed groups spawned in the conflict.
The special court's mandate applies to war crimes and crimes against humanity dating back to 2003.
The tribunal was set up in 2015 with UN backing but struggled for years to get going in the face of logistical hurdles, lack of money and local hostility.
Monday's verdict has been acclaimed by rights campaigners and relatives of victims as a crucial step in the fight for justice.
"The judgment shows the capacity of the Central African Republic's courts, assisted by the international community, to address the gravest crimes suffered by its people," Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement on Wednesday.
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