Jean-Pierre Bemba’s lawyers have asked International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to permit them to obtain information that will help to identify the unnamed informant who tipped off the prosecution that the Congolese politician was bribing witnesses.
In a February 20, 2014 filing, defense lawyer Nicholas Kaufman said he needed to contact and interview the individual in order to check the veracity of the information he provided.
He said the informant’s actions may have been politically motivated, or he could be connected to witnesses who will testify for the prosecution.
“Alternatively, it is more than feasible that the anonymous informant could possess information which could exonerate the suspect,” stated Mr. Kaufman, who is representing Mr. Bemba in the new case.
Last November, charges of witness … Continue Reading
Jean-Pierre Bemba’s lawyers have asked International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to bar prosecutors from contacting witnesses who testified in support of the Congolese opposition leader. They argued that this was to ensure the safety and security of individuals, including those “actively serving in extremely sensitive operations.”
In a February 12, 2014 filing, the lawyers said if the prosecutor contacted the witnesses and asked if they lied in their testimonies, it might cause confusion and fear among individuals who had understood that their association with the court was over.
“These witnesses have also previously been informed that they had no obligation to meet with or talk to the prosecution, and that any contact would not occur without their consent,” said lead defense counsel … Continue Reading
The defense for Jean-Pierre Bemba has asked judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to order a stop to the monitoring and recording of privileged communications between Mr. Bemba and his lawyers.
“It is impossible for members of the current team to continue to represent Mr. Bemba without the ability to take instructions and provide advice in a confidential setting,” submitted Peter Haynes in a February 6, 2014 filing.
He asked judges to order a stop to monitoring of all communications, including phone conversations, meetings at the detention center where Mr. Bemba is being held, and the holding cell at the ICC premises. Furthermore, he asked judges to order the court’s registry, the prosecution, and national authorities not to monitor the communications … Continue Reading
Assingambi Zarambaud, a lawyer representing victims in the war crimes trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba at the International Criminal Court (ICC), passed away last month.
There has been no official communication from the court regarding the death, but according to media reports, Mr. Zarambaud suffered a fatal heart attack in Paris, France on January 16, 2014. He was a national of the Central African Republic (CAR).
In a February 5, 2014 filing, the court’s registry confirmed that Marie-Edith Douzima Lawson, the second victims’ lawyer in the trial, would take on the representation of all the victims previously represented by Mr. Zarambaud. Two case managers would support her.
“The Registry considers that such an arrangement would ensure the continuity of the proper legal representation of … Continue Reading
Jean-Pierre Bemba’s lawyers have petitioned judges to suspend proceedings in a new case that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has brought against Mr. Bemba.
The defense says monitoring of communications between Mr. Bemba and his lawyers and seizure of privileged defense materials “prejudiced irremediably” his ongoing trial.
“The prosecution has obtained access to privileged information setting out defense strategy and information, which should have been protected by Mr. Bemba’s privilege against self-incrimination,” defense lawyer Peter Haynes stated in a January 23 filing.
The investigation conducted under Article 70 of the court’s founding statute resulted last November into new charges against Mr. Bemba, two of his lawyers, and two aides. They are accused of bribing witnesses and forging evidence.
Mr. Haynes wants judges to … Continue Reading
Defense lawyers have opposed the prosecution’s bid to introduce evidence on witness tampering by Jean-Pierre Bemba and his lawyers in the Congolese politician’s ongoing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On November 29, 2013, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda sought permission to submit an audio recording, a report, and a financial chart, which “will demonstrate conclusively that the testimony of specific defense witnesses is that of counsel rather than the witness.”
Mr. Bemba, along with two of his former lawyers and two aides, are accused of corruptly influencing witnesses and presenting false documents in the trial. Mr. Bemba has been in ICC detention since 2008 over his alleged failure to discipline soldiers he commanded, who prosecutors say committed rape, murder, and pillaging in … Continue Reading
International Criminal Court (ICC) investigators tapped phone calls and intercepted emails between Jean-Pierre Bemba and his lawyers, according to an arrest warrant published by the court.
The interceptions showed that Mr. Bemba run a “criminal scheme” from his detention cell in The Hague. They also showed that the Congolese opposition leader was speaking to witnesses and authorizing payments to them.
Pre-trial judge Cuno Tarfusser, who authorized the interceptions, last November issued arrest warrants for Mr. Bemba, his lead counsel Aimé Kilolo-Musamba, and case manager Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo. Arrest warrants were also issued for Narcisse Arido, a defense witness, and Fidèle Babala Wandu, a member of the Congolese parliament.
The four suspects were arrested on November 23 and 24, 2013 by authorities in the … Continue Reading
The testimony of a witness who disappeared from the International Criminal Court (ICC) before he completed his testimony will be accepted into evidence, judges have ruled.
The witness, a former intelligence officer in the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), left his accommodation in The Hague in September 2012, after testifying in the defense of Jean-Pierre Bemba for three days.
At the time of his disappearance, the individual going by the pseudonym ‘Witness D04-07’ had been questioned by the defense, the prosecution, and partially by judges and one of the two lawyers representing victims in the trial.
Judges determined that although testimony by this witness was incomplete, they would admit it into the case record. “The chamber is of the view that it has … Continue Reading
Trial judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have suspended for three weeks the deadlines for filing of pending submissions by parties and participants in the ongoing trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba.
The period coincides with the winter recess of the ICC that falls between December 14, 2013 and January 5, 2014. Furthermore, Mr. Bemba’s defense has been short-handed after two senior members of the defense team were arrested last month.
“Taking into account the exceptional circumstances that have arisen from the recent events related to the Bemba case, and their impact on the situation of the defense team, the chamber considers that a suspension of any relevant time limits during the 2013-2014 winter judicial recess is warranted,” read a December 6 order … Continue Reading
International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have granted a request by war crimes accused Jean-Pierre Bemba for Peter Haynes to act as lead counsel in his ongoing war crimes trial. The English lawyer was until last month the co-counsel while Aimé Kilolo-Musamba, who is now faced with witness and evidence tampering charges, was lead counsel.
In a December 6, 2013 ruling, judges Sylvia Steiner (presiding), Joyce Aluoch, and Kuniko Ozaki, allowed Mr. Haynes to act as counsel for Mr. Bemba “until otherwise decided.”
In a hand-written note dated December 5, Mr. Bemba had requested the judges for more time to consider the composition of his defense team. However, he asked the judges to allow Mr. Haynes to continue representing him.
On November 23 and … Continue Reading