International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Bemba Lacked Means to Command Troops From His Residence

On the fourth day of his testimony, a former insider in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) asserted that Jean-Pierre Bemba, the group’s commander-in-chief, did not have radio equipment at his residence that could have enabled him to command troops on the battlefront.

This afternoon, prosecuting lawyer Jean-Jacques Badibanga screened video footage that showed Mr. Bemba in his living room, presumably issuing orders to his troops via a radio. A voice-over, apparently by the producer of the video, stated that “there is no doubt Bemba is in charge, surrounded by radios.”

Recognizing the background in the video as Mr. Bemba’s former residence, ‘Witness D04-49′ said radio equipment had indeed been procured for MLC communications. However, he added, this equipment was controlled by operators who regularly changed the frequencies and coded communications to avoid its interception by enemy troops.

“Why would he have equipment by his side? That would have unfavorable outcomes on our operations,” said the witness. “I do not think he mastered all the frequencies that experts were familiar with.” The witness added that while radio equipment may have been set up at Mr. Bemba’s home upon request, it would have been returned quickly to the MLC operations center.

Mr. Bemba, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for charges stemming from crimes allegedly committed by his troops during their deployment in an armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) between October 2002 and March 2003.

While not physically present in the CAR during the conflict, prosecutors charge that he remained in direct and effective command of his troops from his residence in the Congolese town of Gbadolite. Furthermore, they argue that he knew his troops were committing acts of murder, rape, and pillaging but took no action. He denies the charges.

Also today, Mr. Badibanga presented numerous communication logs, some of them related to communication between Mr. Bemba and MLC field commanders requesting for equipment and operational advice. Some of the logs appeared to show Mr. Bemba provided orders directly to his field commanders who were stationed in the CAR.

After reading the logs, the witness said they were not conclusive evidence that Mr. Bemba made direct orders to his field commanders.

‘Witness D04-49′ continues his testimony tomorrow morning.

 

2 Comments
  1. Ce que la CPI est entrain de faire est nul .Mr Bemba est innocent .Allez arrete George Bush .Cobien des gens kabila a tuer en RDC y compris des defenseurs des droits de l’homme,il appui les INTERAMWE aussi .

    Pourqoui lrs 4 kenyans ne sont plus dans la prison ,a;prs que ceux quils ont fait est visible.

    le president Sirie,le president rwnadais et ougandais ils ont tues ,violes en RDC ,Ils sont libres.

    COUR INJUSTE

  2. Allez dire que les image reprise dans le CD parle de Bangui ne tient pas debout , d’autant plus que Mr bemba au Congo avait ses homme de terrain , les opérateur radio , avec le centre de commandement pour les operation militaire au Congo et non a Bangui , le image dans le Cd montre Bemba entraien de demande de nouvelle sur les position des ses troupe à basankusu et les parole sont claire car son correspondant lui informé qu’il pleuvait dans la région et après nous avons aussi vu Bemba se rendre à lisala Donc il est hors sujet de vouloir s’accrocher sur cette vidéo qui montre d’ailleurs le général Mustafa avec ses troupe dans la brousse du Congo à l’époque je crois bien que la CD fut tournez bien avant les operation de Bangui

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