Bemba bribery trial largely behind closed doors

29 October 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)
Jean-Pierre Bemba at the start of his bribery trial at the ICC (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
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Jean-Pierre Bemba at the start of his bribery trial at the ICC (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)

The first trial for offences against the administration of justice is a testing ground for the International Criminal Court (ICC) but has been hard to follow. Since its start last month, crucial proceedings in the case against Congolese suspect Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, two of his lawyers and two others for allegedly bribing witnesses have taken place behind closed doors.

With no less than five suspects in the dock, the courtroom is packed. Bemba and his lawyers sit in the back rows. In front of them are Bemba’s former lead counsel, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, former case manager, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, long-time confidant Fidèle Babala Wandu and pointman Narcisse Arido. The five are charged with offences against the administration of justice, making this the ICC’s first trial for violations of Article 70 of the Rome Statute [IJT-159], which regulates what constitutes such offences

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