ICC jails ex-DRC VP for a year for bribing witnesses

2017-03-22 14:02


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Hague  - War crimes judges on Wednesday sentenced former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba to one year's imprisonment for bribing witnesses in his main trial, and ordered he pay a $323 640 fine.

"The chamber imposes on you an additional 12 months, one year imprisonment," presiding judge Bertram Schmitt told Bemba, passing sentence at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Schmitt added the sentence would run consecutively to an 18-year-term Bemba is already serving after being convicted of war crimes carried out by his marauding troops in the Central African Republic in 2002 to 2003.

Bemba's four accomplices, lawyer Aime Kilolo, his legal case manager Jean-Jacques Mangenda, Narcisse Arido, a defence witness, and Congolese lawmaker Fidele Babala were sentenced to between six months and two-and-half years in jail.

None of the four will however spend time in jail as judges took into account time already spent in the ICC's detention centre in The Hague. They also agreed to suspend the sentences for Mangenda and Kilolo for three years.

Bemba however, did not qualify for a reduction of sentence and will serve the one year "consecutively" to the 18 years already handed to him by the court based in The Hague.

He was also ordered to pay a $323 640 fine "within three months" - with the money to be transferred into the ICC's Trust Fund for Victims, which helps rehabilitate victims and affected communities.

Handing down the sentence, Judge Schmitt said judges "are of the opinion that there is a need to discourage this sort of behaviour and to prevent it from happening again."

The sentences are however lighter than asked for by prosecutors, who wanted eight years for Bemba and Kilolo, seven for Mangenda, five for Arido and three for Babala.

The feared former rebel leader and his four associates were found guilty in October of bribing witnesses in what judges at the world war crimes court described as "clear and downright criminal behaviour".

The bribery verdict was the first of its kind in the ICC's history, and the charges were brought after a tip-off to the prosecutor's office.

Read more on:    drc  |  central african republic  |  central africa

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.

Inside News24

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


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.


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.