French authorities have arrested a high-level militia leader wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The ICC confirmed the arrest of Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona on Wednesday. An arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 7.
He is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as the leader of a group known as Anti-Balaka between December 2013 and December 2014.
Anti-Balaka is a Christian group that exists predominantly as a counter-movement to the majority Muslim Seleka armed group.
Anti-Balaka is suspected of having carried out “a widespread and systemic attack” against “the Muslim civilian population and anyone perceived to support the Seleka” between September 2013 and December 2014, the ICC said.
As the senior leader of Anti-Balaka, Ngaissona is accused of “murder and attempted murder, torture, cruel treatment, mutilation, intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population,” among other charges.
Another leader of the militia, Alfred Yekatom, was also recently handed over to the court.
The government in the unstable nation referred the case to the ICC in May 2014.