Judges at the International Criminal Court on Thursday confirmed war crimes and crimes against humanity charges levied by prosecutors against a former commander of the "Seleka" faction in Central African Republic.
The decision paves the way for the case of Mahamat Said Abdel Kain to go to trial. Lawyers for Said, who was detained and transferred to The Hague in January, have said they will prove he is innocent.
An ICC statement said judges found "sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Mr. Said was a senior member of the Seleka coalition and is criminally responsible" for crimes including torture of prisoners during his term at the Central Office for the Repression of Banditry, in the capital Bangui, between April 12 and August 30, 2013.
The Central African Republic has been mired in violence since a coalition of mostly northern and predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka, or “alliance” in the Sango language, seized power in March 2013. Their brutal rule gave rise to the opposing “anti-balaka” Christian militias, several of whose former leaders also face charges at the ICC.