ICC confirms charges against Bemba 16 Jun 2009
The International Criminal Court has confirmed some of the charges against Congolese Ex-Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who will stand trial at the ICC.

Bemba at the ICCOn 15 June 2009, Pre-Trial Chamber II at the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed some of the charges against former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. The Pre-Trial Chamber found that there was sufficient evidence to proceed on five counts: murder and rape as crimes against humanity, and murder, rape and pillaging as war crimes. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is alleged to be criminally responsible as a person acting as military commander within the meaning of article 28(a) of the ICC Statute for crimes committed by his forces, the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC), during fighting in the Central African Republic from October 2002 to March 2003.

While the Pre-Trial Chamber found sufficient evidence to proceed on five charges, it found that there was not sufficient evidence in relation to the other charges submitted in the Prosecution’s Amended Document Containing the Charges. The Pre-Trial Chamber determined that there were not substantial grounds to believe that Bemba was individually criminally responsible as a co-perpetrator with Ange-Félix Patassé, since the Prosecutor had not shown sufficient evidence to demonstrate that Bemba had the necessary criminal intent within the meaning of article 30 of the ICC Statute. The Pre-Trial Chamber also declined to confirm the three following charges: torture as a crime against humanity; torture as a war crime, and outrages upon personal dignity constituting a war crime.

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo was arrested by Belgian authorities in Belgium on 24 May 2008 and was transferred to the ICC in The Hague on 3 July 2008. A confirmation of charges hearing took place at the ICC from 12-15 January 2009. On 3 March 2009, the Pre-Trial Chamber decided to adjourn the confirmation of charges hearing, requesting the Prosecutor to file an amended document containing the charges. The Pre-trial Chamber indicated that the evidence submitted by the Prosecution may indicate a different mode of responsibility, namely criminal liability as a commander or superior under article 28 of the ICC Statute. On 30 March 2009, the Prosecutor submitted an Amended Document Containing the Charges, while the Defence responded on 24 April 2009. The case will now be referred to a Trial Chamber for trial.

Research File: Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
Research File: Situation in Central African Republic

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