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Jean-Pierre Bemba: ICC orders release of Congo 'warlord'

Congolese rebel warlord and Democratic Republic of Congo Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba attends a hearing at the International Criminal Court in the HagueSymbol copyright

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Jean-Pierre Bemba were sentenced to a complete of 18 years in jail

Judges on the World Felony Court docket (ICC) have ordered the discharge of former Democratic Republic of Congo rebellion chief and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Remaining week, enchantment judges overturned his 2016 conviction on fees of warfare crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity.

Bemba is but to be sentenced for the separate fee of bribing witnesses.

Judges dominated that he may just sign up for his circle of relatives in Belgium, whilst he awaits sentencing if so.

He had already served greater than 80% of the utmost imaginable sentence of 5 years for bribing witnesses, so it might be “disproportionate” to stay him in custody, judges stated.

Bemba was once arrested in Belgium in 2008 after the ICC issued a global arrest warrant for him.

He was once accused of failing to prevent his rebellion forces from killing and raping other folks in neighbouring Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.

Bemba was once convicted in 2016, and sentenced to 18 years in jail.

The trial was once the primary sooner than the ICC to concentrate on sexual violence as a weapon of warfare.

Bemba waged an extended prison struggle to overturn his conviction and closing week enchantment judges in any case dominated in his favour.

They stated he may just now not be held criminally answerable for crimes dedicated by way of his troops.

Human rights workforce Amnesty World stated his acquittal was once a “large blow” for the sufferers of a “scary marketing campaign of rape and sexual violence”.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda described the ruling as “regrettable and troubling”.

The judges ordered what they referred to as Bemba’s “period in-between liberate” underneath particular prerequisites, together with barring him from making public statements at the case, converting his deal with with out prior realize, and contacting witnesses.

He’s because of be sentenced on four July after being convicted in a separate case of corruptly influencing witnesses and falsifying proof throughout his warfare crimes trial.

Bemba’s liberate will have an have an effect on on politics within the DR Congo, the place he maintains a faithful enhance base, stories the BBC’s Anna Holligan from The Hague.

One member of his birthday celebration instructed our correspondent that Mr Bemba now hopes to run for president in elections scheduled for December.

Who’s Jean-Pierre Bemba?

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Getty Pictures

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Bemba had just right family members with a few of Africa’s leaders

  • A well-connected businessman and the son of distinguished Congolese businessman Bemba Saolona
  • 1998: Helped by way of Uganda to shape MLC rebellion workforce in Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2003: Turns into vice-president underneath peace deal
  • 2006: Loses run-off election to President Joseph Kabila however will get maximum votes in western DR Congo, together with Kinshasa
  • 2007: Flees to Belgium after clashes in Kinshasa
  • 2008: Arrested in Brussels and passed over to ICC
  • 2010: Trial starts
  • 2016: Discovered responsible of warfare crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity
  • 2018: Conviction overturned on enchantment

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