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Central African war crimes suspect known as ‘Rambo’ handed to global court

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A war crimes suspect wanted for alleged murder, deportation and torture of Muslims in the Central African Republic has been handed over to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the tribunal said.

CAR officials transferred Alfred Yekatom on Saturday to officials from the global court, which is looking in more than six years of violence that has destabilized a fragile region at the heart of the continent.

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Yekatom, a sitting MP once nicknamed “Rambo”, was flown out of the country and arrived in the court’s detention center in the Hague in the early hours of Sunday, officials there said.

There was no immediate comment from Yekatom or any lawyers representing him.

A U.N. commission of inquiry found that Christian militias under Yekatom had carried out war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting Muslims.

The International Criminal Court – set up to prosecute the worst crimes when member countries can not or will not do so – issued a sealed arrest warrant for Yekatom on Nov. 11.

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“We allege Mr. Yekatom is criminally responsible for several counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic between 5 December 2013 and August 2014,” International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said.

“Now, he must answer in court for his actions.”

WARRANTS, CHARGES
Bensouda is carrying out two separate investigations into conflicts in the Central African Republic. Yekatom’s arrest is the first in the more recent conflict.

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A pre-trial chamber found reason to suspect Yekatom of commanding around 3,000 members of an armed group operating within the Anti-Balaka movement, which was carrying out systematic attacks against the Muslim population.

Among the charges in the warrant are murder, cruel treatment, deportation, imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, and the recruitment of child soldiers under the age of 15.

The former French colony, one of Africa’s poorest countries despite reserves of gold and diamonds, was plunged into chaos when mostly Muslim Seleka rebels started attacking towns and grabbing territory before seizing power in March 2013.

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Seleka’s rule prompted a backlash from Christian militia known as anti-balaka. Under international pressure Seleka handed power to a transitional government but the move effectively partitioned the country and bloody clashes continue.

No date has been set yet for Yekatom’s initial appearance, but he must be brought before a judge within several days under court rules.

Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Andrew Heavens

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Ex-Houston cop is charged with murder after his fraudulent search warrant got a couple killed

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Former Houston police officer Gerald Goines has been indicted on felony murder charges in relation to a drug raid in January that left a couple dead, the Houston Chronicle reported this Friday.

Questions about the raid, which took place January 28, began to swirl when it was revealed that Goines had lied to obtain the search warrant. The raid resulted in a shootout that killed 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle. Goines was also wounded in the shootout as were four other officers.

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‘Making things worse’: National Farmer’s Union chief unloads on Trump in blistering statement on trade war

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Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, delivered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump after he responded to new tariffs from China by issuing a purported "order" telling American companies to look for alternative places to manufacture their goods.

In an official statement, Johnson pointed out that farmers so far have felt the brunt of the president's trade war, as China has slapped heavy tariffs on key agricultural products such as soybeans.

He also crushed the president for failing to make any progress on reopening the Chinese market to American goods.

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Google tells workers to avoid arguing politics in house

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Google on Friday told employees to focus on work instead of heated debates about politics with colleagues at the internet company, which has long been known for encouraging people to speak their minds.

Updated workplace guidelines for "Googlers" called on them to be responsible, helpful, and thoughtful during exchanges on internal message boards or other conversation forums.

"While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not," the updated guidelines stated.

"Our primary responsibility is to do the work we?ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics."

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