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ICC Trial Chamber III declares Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
18 February 2018 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

“The first one slept with me, and he ejaculated in me. Then the second one came to do the same thing. He ejaculated in me. And finally the third one did the same thing as the two earlier ones had done.”

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Initial appearance of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba and Fidèle Babala Wandu, 27 November 2013  (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
17 March 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The International Criminal Court will rule this coming Monday in the case of Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba who stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bemba, who was transferred to The Hague in 2008 was seen as the first 'big fish' to have been caught by the permanent war crimes court.

The accusations relate to crimes allegedly committed by his troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2002 and 2003, when Bemba was asked by then CAR president Ange-Félix Patassé to provide support during a civil war. As commander of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), Bemba is held accountable for multiple rapes and other crimes by his troops in CAR.

IJT spoke to three experts and longtime observers of the Bemba case about the significance of the ruling for the ICC, for international justice and jurisprudence and for the victims.

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Bosco Ntaganda, for whom the ICC pre-trial chamber unanimously confirmed all charges of sexual and gender-based crimes (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
06 April 2015 by Ella Sonja West, The Hague (The Netherlands)

At the International Criminal Court (ICC), prosecuting sexual and gender-based violence has been notoriously difficult. Documentary evidence has often proved insufficient and local officials, unwilling to cooperate. Despite such challenges, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), since Fatou Bensouda took over in 2012, has prioritized prosecution of such crimes.

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14 May 2010 by -

Although 100% of cases currently before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague involve crimes of gender based violence committed in Africa, only 4% of ICC lawyers are women from that continent. The ICC is hoping to change this with a campaign to recruit African women lawyers to represent both victims and defendants at the court.

By Hélène Michaud

“Most of the victims said: she understands us better because she’s a woman and a mother.”

Africa needs more lawyers like Carine Bapita.

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24 February 2010 by -

The deputy prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) says it is likely that crimes against humanity were committed during a bloody crackdown on protesters in Guinea last year.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

Fatou Bensouda, who has just returned from a three-day visit to Guinea, said on Friday, “on the basis of the information that we have received from this visit, we will pursue our preliminary examination.”

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01 June 2001 by -

Sub-Commander of the Foca military Police and paramilitary leader in Foca

Radomir Kovac was found guilty of crimes against humanity and of violations of the laws or customs of war. On 12 June 2002, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia confirmed the 20-year sentence imposed by the Trial Chamber on 22 February 2001. Identity

  • Radomir Kovac was born on 31 March 1961, in Foca, Bosnia Herzegovina.

Charges

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01 June 2001 by -

Commander in the Serbian Army of Bosnia.

Dragoljub Kunarac was found guilty of crimes against humanity and of violations of the laws or customs of war. On 12 June 2002, the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia Appeals Chamber of the confirmed the 28-year sentence handed down by the Trial Chamber on 22 February 2001.

Identity

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01 June 2001 by -

Sub-commander of the Foca military police and paramilitary leader

Zoran Vukovic was found guilty of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. On 12 June 2002, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia confirmed the 12-year sentence handed down by the Trial Chamber on 22 February 2001. Identity

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03 May 2004 by -

As a humble town councillor, Mikaeli Muhimana (or «Mika») should probably never have been brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The tribunal was set up by the United Nations to try the main perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. The indictment issued by the ICTR in 1995 harks back to the time when the untried prosecution was mindless of the restricted mandate of the ad hoc tribunal.

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23 May 2005 by -

Accounts of sexual violence and cruelty against women committed during the 1994 genocide have characterised the trial of Mika Muhimana since it opened before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). On 28 April 2005, eleven years after the crimes, the former sector councillor of the Gishyita commune, Kibuye prefecture, has been sentenced to life imprisonment. The trial chamber dismissed a number of charges against the accused, including at least eleven rapes and nine murders.

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