ICC acquits DR Congo’s Bemba on appeal

International war crimes judges Friday acquitted former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba on appeal, overturning an 18-year sentence for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR).

« Mr Bemba cannot be held criminally liable for the crimes committed by his troops in the Central African Republic, » presiding judge Christine Van den Wyngaert told the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

« The Appeals Chamber in this instant reverses the conviction against Mr Bemba… and in relation to the remaining criminal acts it enters an acquittal, » Van den Wyngaert said.

In 2016, the ICC’s judges unanimously found Bemba guilty on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for abuses committed by his troops during a five-month rampage in the neighbouring CAR.

QUASH A COUP

Bemba had sent his militia, the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC), into the CAR in October 2002 to quash a coup against the then president, Ange-Felix Patasse.

At his sentencing in 2016, trial judges blamed Bemba for failing to stop a series of « sadistic and cruel » rapes and murders as well as pillaging by his soldiers.

The trial was the first before the ICC to focus on sexual violence as a weapon of war.

It was also the first to determine whether a military commander bore responsibility for the conduct of troops under his control.

But in a scathing assessment, the Hague-based ICC’s appeal judges said Bemba was « erroneously » convicted for specific criminal acts.

Trial judges were also wrong in their finding that Bemba could in fact prevent crimes being committed by his MLC troops, they determined.

« The trial chamber ignored significant testimonial evidence that Mr Bemba’s ability to investigate and punish crimes in the CAR was limited, » Judge Van den Wyngaert said.

Bemba however remains behind bars in a separate case in which he was sentenced to one year in jail for bribing witnesses during his main war crimes trial.

Bemba lost an appeal against that sentence, but the ICC still has to decide whether a new jail term will be imposed.

Judges are to decide « shortly whether Mr Bemba’s continued detention is warranted, » Van den Wyngaert said.

 

By AFP, in The East African, 08.06.18

4 réflexions au sujet de « ICC acquits DR Congo’s Bemba on appeal »

  1. From the outset, it was clear that the arrest and imprisonment of Jean-Pierre Bemba was a Western message in favor of the taciturn Rwandan Trojan Horse named Joseph Kabila. Today, it is also clear that through Bemba’s acquittal, the West sends a strong message to Joseph Kabila who has become arrogant even towards the Westerners who made him king. Poor Africans! The West is still playing with us after so many decades of independence.

  2. Let us hope that once free, the same Westerners will put Bemba in a position that will enable him to send the Rwandan Trojan Horse Joseph Kabila and all the Rwandan Tutsi as well as Congolese rascals around him to jail for ever. This is your destiny, dear Jean Pierre Bemba. Don’t forget it ! Millions of Congolese are ready to support you in this regard. Get out of jail, stand up, unite the Congolese nation and kick the son of bastard back to where he came from.

  3. We hope he did not accept another  » unacceptable  » to get out of prison. We wish very quickly a Bemba-Dokolo ticket to free the Congo from the Rwandan occupation.

    Mwana ngwaka akwaka te !!!!!!

  4. TANZANIAN IMPOSTOR HYPO KANAMBE-MTWALE, AN EX-CAB DRIVER IN DAR-ES-SALAAM WHO CAME TO DRC IN 1997 AS CHAUFFEUR FOR RWANDAN GEN. JAMES KABEREJE, CAN NO MORE DREAM OF KILLING HIS WAY TO A PRESIDENCY-FOR-LIFE IN RDC LIKE HIS BURUNDIAN COUSIN & CRIMINAL NKURUNDIZE.

    ALONG WITH THE LATE ETIENNE TSHISEKEDI, JEAN-PIERRE BEMBA IS ONE OF THE FEW POLITICIANS IN CONGO THE TANZANIAN IMPOSTOR FEARED THE MOST, AND TRIED TO KEEP AWAY BY BRIBING ICC’S PROSECUTORS THROUGH HIS ISRAELI FIXER & MAFIOSI DAN GERTLER – NOW UNDER U.S. SANCTIONS.

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