Men gesture in front of a burning barricade during a protest against French soldiers in Bambari May 22, 2014. At least three people were killed in the Central African Republic on Thursday as Muslims with machetes and rifles clashed with French peacekeeping troops trying to disarm rebels, a rebel spokesman said. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY)
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)