Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Hamas opens fire on Israel despite offer to extend humanitarian truce

    Read more

  • Photos: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest in Paris

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Germany's Tony Martin wins 20th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Kidnapped Briton freed after five months' detention in Yemen

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

ICC to hear war crimes charges against former rebel leader

Latest update : 2009-01-12

International Criminal Court judges will begin hearing evidence advocating bringing Congolese former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba to trial for war crimes. Bemba is charged with five counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity.

See reader reactions to Jean-Pierre Bemba's arrest and possible trial for war crimes. 

 

 

AFP - International Criminal Court judges will hear prosecution evidence [on Monday] in favour of a war crimes trial for Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, who will in turn argue for charges to be dropped.
   
The four-day "confirmation of charges" hearing that starts in front of a pre-trial chamber Monday will seek to ensure there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the former Democratic Republic of Congo vice-president.
   
By approving the charge sheet filed by prosecutors, judges will pave the way for Bemba to go on trial.
   
Bemba, arrested on an ICC warrant in Brussels last May, is charged with five counts of war crimes and three of crimes against humanity for rape, torture, pillaging and murder committed by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) militia group between 2002 and 2003.
   
The charges relate to the MLC fighting a coup in the Central African Republic at the behest of then president Ange-Felix Patasse.  
   
The provisional charge sheet alleges that MLC combatants attacked the civilian population, committing rape and torture on "a systematic or widespread scale".
   
"This hearing is an opportunity to show that the real aim of all these judicial manoeuvres is the political destruction of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba," his advocate Aime Kilolo-Musamba told AFP.
   
As leader of the MLC, today the major opposition group in the DR Congo, Bemba lost 2006 presidential elections to Joseph Kabila.
   
He went into exile in April 2007 following a shoot-out with the presidential guard in Congo which killed more than 200 people.
   
Monday's hearing will open with a summary by the prosecutor of the crimes alleged against the 46-year-old Bemba, followed by a statement by a legal representative for 54 victims and finally Bemba's lawyers.
   
"It is absolutely nonsensical to claim that Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba can be held responsible for the alleged crimes committed in the Central African Republic," said Kilolo-Musamba.
   
"We demand a dismissal of the case."
   
According to Kilolo-Musamba, the prosecution has filed 10,000 pages of documents to back its case.
   
Fearful that Bemba may influence witnesses, a judge of the tribunal has twice rejected requests that he be freed pending trial.
   
Bemba is being held at a Dutch prison in Scheveningen, a sea-side suburb of The Hague, where he receives on average three visits a week from his wife who lives in Brussels.
   
Bemba's five children, four of them minors, come to see him on weekends, said the advocate.
   
Bemba is the first accused before the ICC to have to pay for his own defense team of six people, having been been found by the tribunal not to be indigent and thus not qualifying for support.
   
Some of his assets, including a bank account in Portugal, has been frozen at the prosecutor's request. But the freeze had to be partly lifted recently to allow Bemba to pay lawyers' costs, which had accumulated to 190,000 euros from the time of his arrest in May to September, according to documents before the court.
   
The ICC is the first permanent world court set up to judge war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Date created : 2009-01-12

COMMENT(S)