20°C / 22°C
  • Sat
  • 33°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 33°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 33°C
  • 19°C
  • Tue
  • 30°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 33°C
  • 15°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 34°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 35°C
  • 18°C
  • Mon
  • 36°C
  • 18°C
  • Tue
  • 30°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 30°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 33°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 35°C
  • 16°C
  • Sun
  • 35°C
  • 17°C
  • Mon
  • 35°C
  • 17°C
  • Tue
  • 33°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 30°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 35°C
  • 17°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 18°C
  • Sun
  • 29°C
  • 19°C
  • Mon
  • 24°C
  • 16°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 15°C
  • Wed
  • 27°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 24°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 18°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 13°C
  • Sat
  • 25°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 12°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Wed
  • 16°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 10°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 14°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 15°C
  • 11°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 10°C
  • Wed
  • 15°C
  • 11°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 36°C
  • 19°C
  • Sun
  • 36°C
  • 18°C
  • Mon
  • 37°C
  • 23°C
  • Tue
  • 34°C
  • 18°C
  • Wed
  • 32°C
  • 16°C
  • Thu
  • 37°C
  • 18°C
  • Sat
  • 33°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 33°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 29°C
  • 14°C
  • Tue
  • 29°C
  • 10°C
  • Wed
  • 30°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 32°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 33°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 34°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 33°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 14°C
  • Wed
  • 33°C
  • 14°C
  • Thu
  • 36°C
  • 16°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 15°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Mon
  • 18°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 16°C
  • 10°C
  • Wed
  • 18°C
  • 7°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • 11°C

International court sentences Congo politician Bemba for witness tampering

Politician Jean-Pierre Bemba was acquitted of war crimes on appeal in June but had already been convicted on the lesser charge of witness tampering during his trial.

FILE: Jean-Pierre Bemba is seen at the opening of his trial in The Hague on November 22, 2010. Picture: AFP

AMSTERDAM - The International Criminal Court on Monday fined Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba 300,000 euros ($350,730) and sentenced him to 12 months for witness tampering, but his jail term was reduced to zero due to time already served.

Bemba was acquitted of war crimes on appeal in June but had already been convicted on the lesser charge of witness tampering during his trial.

Bemba has been barred from standing in December’s presidential election in Democratic Republic of Congo, in which he would have been one of the frontrunners challenging the ruling coalition, because of the conviction.

“Future accused persons can look at Mr. Bemba’s conviction as a cautionary example as to what consequences obstructing the administration of justice can have,” Judge Bertram Schmitt said.

“Mr. Bemba’s acquittal in the main case should have been the end of his exposure to the court, yet he continues to have the specter of this institution hanging over him.”

A senior figure in Bemba’s Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) party, told Reuters the MLC was in the process of analyzing the implications of the decision.

“But what is positive in this ruling is that MLC president, senator Jean Pierre Bemba moves from the status of being provisionally freed to become 100% free in terms of movement, action, and expression,” the party’s deputy secretary-general Fidele Babala said.

Bemba’s surprise acquittal on war crimes charges in June raised the prospect he could return to Congo and re-enter politics. A final decision on whether the witness tampering conviction makes him ineligible to stand is expected on Wednesday in Congo.

Bemba headed the MLC and its affiliated militia. After he lost an election to Laurent Kabila in 2006 he was sent to The Hague to stand trial for atrocities committed by his troops in the neighbouring Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.

His initial conviction was reversed on appeal in June, with judges saying prosecutors had failed to show he had enough control over troops to bear responsibility for their wrongdoing and he could not be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bemba, who has family in both Belgium and Congo, did not attend Monday’s ruling.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus