International court to look into Central African Republic crime allegations: prosecutor

AMSTERDAM Fri Feb 7, 2014 10:42am EST

An AK-47 assault rifle with a magazine of ammunition, a bag of grenades and a flak jacket are seen on the ground after African Union (AU) peacekeepers found them during a search and disarmament operation in Kilometre 9 (PK9) in the capital Bangui February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

An AK-47 assault rifle with a magazine of ammunition, a bag of grenades and a flak jacket are seen on the ground after African Union (AU) peacekeepers found them during a search and disarmament operation in Kilometre 9 (PK9) in the capital Bangui February 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Siegfried Modola

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court will open a preliminary examination into crimes allegedly committed during the conflict in the Central African Republic, the court's prosecutor said in a statement on Friday.

"The plight of civilians in CAR since September 2012 has gone from bad to worse," said prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in a statement, adding that some victims of crimes, which included alleged killings and acts of rape and sexual slavery, appeared to have been singled out on religious grounds.

The court has had a separate investigation under way in the country since 2007. The preliminary examination announced on Friday could proceed to a second investigation if prosecutors find evidence strong enough to justify it.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Alison Williams)

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