Bemba 'lacks funds for a fair trial'

2010-08-30 13:39

The Hague - Lawyers for former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba have complained to the International Criminal Court they cannot conduct a fair defence because prosecutors have seized his assets.

Bemba is charged with five counts of murder, rape and pillage for allegedly commanding a militia responsible for atrocities in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. He has not entered a plea.

The defence says Bemba has asked the court for a loan, but the amount granted did not cover legal fees or investigation expenses.

Despite his frozen funds, the court has declared that Bemba is not indigent and therefore not entitled to full funding.

The argument came on Monday during a hearing on a trial date. The presiding judge said a date would be announced soon.