Monday, 25 June, 2018

Former Congolese Vice President Cleared Of War Crimes Conviction On Appeal

File The ICC overturned the war crimes conviction of Congolese politician Jean Pierre Bemba on Friday File The ICC overturned the war crimes conviction of Congolese politician Jean Pierre Bemba on Friday
Ellis Copeland | 10 June, 2018, 23:19

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has reversed the conviction of the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity two years ago.

The ICC Appeals Chamber decided by majority to acquit Bemba Gombo from the charges of war crimes & crimes against humanity.

We will remind, on June 21, 2016 the global criminal court in the Hague sentenced a former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison.

The judges ruled that he should not have been held liable as a remote commander for crimes committed by his troops in a foreign country.

Judges are to decide "shortly whether Mr Bemba's continued detention is warranted", Van den Wyngaert said.

Elise Keppler, associate director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch in NY, told DW that the prosecutor brought a solid case against Bemba but questioned why all the proverbial eggs were put in one basket.

Bemba's supporters back in the DRC, meanwhile, celebrated the decision as a vindication.

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The Trial Chamber found that Bemba knew that his militia troops were committing, or were about to commit crimes, but failed to take reasonable measures to deter them or hold those responsible to account.

Amnesty International said the victims who took part in Bemba's trial will continue to seek justice.

"5,229 survivors of Bemba's atrocities participated in the ICC proceedings - for these courageous individuals, as well as thousands of other victims in vehicle, the pursuit of truth, justice and reparations will continue", he said.

Bemba remains in custody, however, because he still has a separate conviction related to witness tampering.

Sacco said the ICC prosecutor's office and judicial authorities in vehicle "must learn from this decision and redouble their efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of crimes under worldwide law".

He said Bemba would probably go to Belgium to meet with his family there before returning to Congo after he is released.

Frustration is rising in Congo against Kabila as the presidential election has been delayed since late 2016.

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