Dr Congo: ICC convicts DR Congo’s Bemba of bribing witnesses

FRANCE 24
Displayed with permission from France 24
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday concluded that former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba coached defence witnesses and paid bribes to influence the outcome of his trial.Judges at the ICC said 14 key witnesses had been coached about what to say and that Bemba and four other defendants had conspired to present false evidence to the court.

Bemba, 53, in March became the first person to be convicted by the global war crimes court of crimes of sexual violence in war, as well as the first to be held directly responsible for his subordinates’ crimes.

The former rebel leader was found guilty on March 21 on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his private army, the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC).

Bemba sent the MLC into the neighbouring Central African Republic from October 2002 to March 2003 to put down a coup against then-president Ange-Felix Patasse.

In their March verdict, judges found Bemba turned a blind eye to a reign of terror by some 1,500 of his troops.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

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