Trial of former Congolese rebel Bemba to open in The Hague

2010-11-22 11:07

The Hague, Netherlands – The war crimes trial of former Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo was to open at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague today, more than two years after his arrest in Belgium.

Bemba faces three counts of war crimes and two counts of crimes against humanity for murder, rape, and pillage allegedly committed by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) rebel forces during a coup in the Central African Republic (CAR), between October 2002 and March 2003.

The trial, whose start was twice delayed, is the highest-profile yet at the ICC, the world’s first permanent court to deal with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is expected to last several months, court officials said.

Bemba, whose father was a successful businessman with close ties to former Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, spent his youth between Kinshasa and Brussels and obtained an MBA from a prestigious business school in Belgium.

He became vice-president of the DRC in 2003, after leading the MLC in the DRC war of 1998-2003.

He was arrested by the Belgian authorities on May 24, 2008 and was transferred to the ICC detention centre in The Hague on July 3 of that year.

“Mr Bemba’s arrest is a warning to all those who commit, who encourage or who tolerate sexual crimes,” ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said at the time.

Bemba is accused of instigating a terror campaign against civilians in the CAR that comprised murder, torture and hundreds of rapes. He has denied the charges.

“The opening of the Bemba trial will be a historical moment for victims from the Central African Republic,” said Lucille Mazangue from the Coalition of the Central African Republic for the ICC, a pressure group.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.