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ICC overturns ex-DRC VP Bemba's war crime convictions

ICC overturns ex-DRC VP Bemba's war crime convictions”

But a majority of appeals judges decided Friday that the verdict did not fairly account for Bemba's efforts to stop his troops' crimes once he became aware of them - and that since he was acting as a remote commander, his power to do so was limited.

"While the Appeals Chamber has held that Mr Bemba was entitled to an acquittal, the decision will be felt as a huge blow for the many victims of the 'war against women' waged in the Central African Republic (CAR) through a horrifying campaign of rape and sexual violence".

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 auto.

A crowd of hundreds of supporters cheered outside Bemba's party headquarters in the Congo capital Kinshasa, shouting "Our president is free!" and "Jean Pierre Bemba is our candidate!"

Bemba had in March 2016 been found guilty of five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his private army - the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) - after he sent them into the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) from October 2002 to March 2003 to put down a coup. Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert, Presiding Judge in this appeal, read a summary of the Judgment during a public hearing.

Before Friday's decision, the ICC had issued verdicts in six cases, with nine people being convicted and one acquitted, according to its website.?

On 21 June 2016, he was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

ICC overturns conviction of Congo warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba

Judge Monageng and Judge Hofmański found that all criminal acts for which Mr Bemba was convicted fell within the scope of the case that the Prosecutor had brought against him.

The court in The Hague also declared that it will now "urgently" supervise another case against Bemba for offenses to the administration of justice in which he was convicted, for which he is still in jail. However, the new ruling overturned this conviction, with the judge stating that Bemba "cannot be held responsible for [fighters"] actions'.

Solomon Sacco, head of Amnesty International's global justice team, said "the decision will be felt as a huge blow for the many victims of the "war against women" waged in the Central African Republic through a horrifying campaign of rape and sexual violence".

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

It remains to be seen what Bemba will do once he is released.

"5229 survivors of Bemba's atrocities participated in the ICC proceedings - for these fearless individuals, as well as thousands of other victims in vehicle, the pursuit of truth, justice and reparations will continue". Haynes said he likely would join his family in Belgium.



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