Bemba

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UN diplomatic conference for the establishment of an international criminal court, Rome 1998 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
16 July 2018 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The past few weeks have not been good for the public image of the International Criminal Court. After the much discussed and dissected acquittal of Congolese politician Jean Pierre Bemba the court has been embroiled in internal conflict.

At a time when the court is celebrating 20 years of its founding Rome Statute, the office of the prosecutor seems determined to be on a collision course with the judges over the Bemba acquittal, even though the appeals chambers verdict is final and without appeal. The prosecutor, even after the appeals chamber verdict, stressed she had a strong case against Bemba and that the judges departed from the usual standard of review on appeal.

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Former ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo at the confirmation of charges hearing for Jean Pierre Bemba in 2009 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
18 June 2018 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

These last weeks have been all about the unexpected acquittal of former Congolese vice president Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on war crimes charges. Or rather: it’s been about the many reactions and interpretations of this decision on a narrow 3-2 majority by the appeals chamber.

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South Ossetian Internally Displaced Persons in Skra, Georgia in March 2012 (Photo: Flickr/Marco Fieber)
29 October 2015

This month we look at the investigation ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wants to open into Georgia with commentators arguing this could be a double-edged sword for Tblisi as the court has made it clear it will investigate alleged crimes from all sides. For the ICC meanwhile this probe signals a clear move away from the attention on situations in Africa, a big point of criticism from the court's detractors.

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

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.