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CAR Militia Face the Music at the Hague

Two men accused of leading Christian-dominated militias in widespread attacks on Muslims in the Central African Republic (CAR) have rejected all charges against them at the start of their trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday. Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, a former African football executive who prosecutors say was a senior leader of the so-called Anti-balaka militias in 2013 and 2014, and Alfred Yekatom, also known as Rambo, pleaded not guilty to charges. The one-time sports minister was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, persecution and torture.  Prosecutors said Ngaissona was an integral part of the Anti-balaka movement. The trial began against a backdrop of fighting between the CAR army, backed by United Nations, Russian and Rwandan troops, and rebels from both militia groups who have formed an alliance with the aim of seizing the capital and overturning a December 27 vote won by President Faustin-Archange Touadera.