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.

President Kenyatta and his defence team, with lawyer Steven Kay in first row, at 8 December 2014 status conference (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
24 February 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

This is the first in a series of articles delving into the challenges faced by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court. In our next issue, Tjitske Lingsma focuses on the use of intermediaries in situation countries. In the third article, we examine the growing importance of technological evidence, like phone records and computer data, to reduce the reliance on witness testimony.

24 March 2010 by -

Lord’s Resistance Army rebels killed over 10 people and kidnapped about 50 others in a village in the eastern Central African Republic (CAR) last weekend. The fatal attack took place in Agoumar, and there were smaller attacks in two nearby villages.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

Under the leadership of Joseph Kony, the self-proclaimed Christian guerrilla army launched an insurgency against Uganda’s government in 1986. Fighting continued in Northern Uganda for nearly two decades until the rebels were pushed into neighbouring countries in 2005.

24 March 2010 by Hélène Michaud

Former Ugandan Minister for Pacification Betty Bigome is one of the main negotiators between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the north of the country. She first met LRA leader Joseph Kony in 1994 and then again a decade later. She told the IJT about her encounters with one of Africa’s most brutal warlords.

09 September 2011 by -

Former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who is being tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on war crimes charges, will not contend Congo's upcoming presidential election.

The 48-year-old Bemba had declared from The Hague in late July that he intended to run in the election. "We do not have the authorisation from the ICC," (International Criminal Court) for Bemba to leave jail and file his candidacy with the Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral body, his Congo Liberation Movement (MLC) said.

07 February 2005 by -

On 24 January the UN publishes its investigative report into crimes commited in Darfur (Sudan). It is predicted that the report will recommend that the Security Council request the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take up the case. After opening investigations in Uganda and Congo, prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo received a letter from President Bozizé on 21 December asking him to investigate crimes committed «anywhere on the territory of the Central African Republic». On 7 January, Ocampo announced that he will be opening preliminary investigations.

30 June 2010 by -

The trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba at the International Criminal Court has been postponed by a week.The trial was set to start next Monday, but due to a “likely change in the composition of the bench” the court decided to postpone it. Opening speeches are now scheduled for July 14th.

By Thijs Bouwknegt

The former Congolese vice president and current senator stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) from October 2002 to March 2003.

19 October 2010 by -

Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Tuesday removed the last obstacle to start the trial against Congo's former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bemba, who was also a business tycoon, warlord, and senator, is accused of widespread rapes and sowing terror in the Central African Republic.

By Thijs Bouwknegt, The Hague

18 July 2012

Summary and link to PDF of IJT 155.


Central African Republic (CAR)