[JURIST] Central African Republic (CAR) President Catherine Samba-Panza has requested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] investigate crimes committed within ICC jurisdiction since August 21, 2012. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] issued a statement [text] Thursday describing the context of the referral to the ICC and mentioning that all of the crimes that have been committed in the CAR have been documented by her office and "will not go unpunished." Bensouda said:
Since 7 February 2014, the situation in the Central African Republic has been subject to a preliminary examination in order to ascertain whether the criteria of the Rome Statute [text] for opening an investigation have been met. This examination will continue and will be stepped up so that I can make a decision shortly. The referral of this situation by the Central African authorities will enable the process to be sped up, where appropriate.Only five nations have ever submitted a referral to the ICC, all of which nations have been African.
Violence has recently been ongoing in the Central African Republic. Bensouda's office opened a preliminary investigation [JURIST report] into the situation in February. The UN Security Council approved a peacekeeping force in April, a month after a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the violence [JURIST reports]. In March the UN Security Council established an International Commission of Inquiry [JURIST report] on CAR, tasked with examining reports of human rights violations, compiling information, and helping identify perpetrators.