ICC fines DRC’s Jean-Pierre Bemba for witness tampering
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has fined former Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba €300,000 for tampering with witnesses during his war crimes trial.
The DRC politician, who has been barred from running in the country’s upcoming presidential elections, was also sentenced to 12 months in prison, but this was reduced to zero due to time already served. Bemba spent more than 10 years in prison after being found guilty of war crimes by the ICC but his conviction was overturned in June.
Bemba fined for witness tampering
During his initial trial for war crimes, Bemba was also charged with bribing witnesses and the case dragged on beyond his acquittal. The former vice president’s release from prison allowed him to return to the DRC shortly before the deadline for presidential candidates to register ahead of December’s election but the country’s top court ruled his ongoing case with the ICC makes him ineligible to run.
Bemba says he will file a new appeal against his sentence for witness tampering but even a successful appeal will come too late for him to run in this year’s election.
Jean-Pierre Bemba was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2016 for murder, rape and pillaging carried out by his private army in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAF). The former vice president spent more than a decade in jail but was freed earlier this year after an ICC judge ruled there was insufficient proof that Bemba had control over his soldiers’ actions.
The DRC will name its presidential candidates for December’s election on Thursday.
Featured image: By Bescherelle – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5093020