Yesterday (14 October) 2021, the confirmation of charges hearing in the case The Prosecutor v. Mahamat Said Abdel Kaniconcluded before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), composed of Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala (Presiding judge), Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua and Judge Tomoko Akane.
The purpose of the confirmation of charges hearing is for the judges to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the suspect committed each of the crimes charged. If the charges are confirmed, in full or in part, the case will be transferred to a Trial Chamber, which will conduct the subsequent phase of the proceedings: the trial.
After hearing the oral submissions of the Prosecutor, the Legal Representative of the Victims and the Defence from 12 to 14 October 2021, the judges heard their respective closing statements and will now start their deliberations.
In accordance with Regulation 53 of the Regulations of the Court, the Pre-Trial Chamber shall deliver its written decision within 60 days of the date on which the confirmation hearing ends. The Pre-Trial Chamber may then:
- confirm those charges for which the Chamber has determined that there is sufficient evidence, and commit the suspect to trial before a Trial Chamber;
- decline to confirm those charges for which it has determined that there is insufficient evidence and stop the proceedings against Mr Said;
- adjourn the hearing and request the Prosecutor to provide further evidence, to conduct further investigations or to amend any charge for which the evidence submitted appears to establish t a crime other than the one charged was committed.
The Defence and the Prosecutor cannot directly appeal this decision. However they can request authorisation from the Pre-Trial Chamber to appeal it.
Mr Said during the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing at the seat of the Court in The Hague (The Netherlands) on 12 October 2021 ©ICC-CPI
Mr Said, a national of the Central African Republic (CAR), born on 25 February 1970 in Bria, was allegedly a Seleka commander and, in this capacity, he is suspected of being responsible for the following crimes allegedly committed in Bangui (CAR) in 2013:
- crimes against humanity (imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty; torture; persecution; enforced disappearance; and other inhumane acts); and,
- war crimes (torture and cruel treatment).
Mr Said is suspected of having committed these crimes jointly with others and/or through others or ordered, solicited or induced these crimes or aided, abetted or otherwise assisted in the commission of these crimes; or in any other way contributed to the commission or these crimes.
He was surrendered to the ICC by the authorities of the Central African Republic on 24 January 2021, on account of an ICC warrant of arrest issued under seal on 7 January 2019. His initial appearance before the Court took place on 28 and 29 January 2021.