Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) last Friday dismissed the appeals of Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo against the pre-trial chamber decision rejecting their request for interim release. The three, along with Jean-Pierre Bemba, are accused of presenting forged evidence and corruptly influencing witnesses in Mr. Bemba’s ongoing war crimes trial before the court.
In a decision issued in an open court hearing on July 11, 2014, a panel of five judges by majority ruled that “no appealable errors have been identified” in the ruling by Judge Cuno Tarfusser for the continued detention of the three suspects. The panel was presided over by Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng.
Judges Anita Ušacka and Erkki Kourula dissented, stating … Continue Reading
The International Criminal Court (ICC) plenary of judges has declined a defense request to disqualify Judge Cuno Tarfusser from handling the pre-trial phase of the new case against Jean-Pierre Bemba, his two former lawyers, and two aides.
“Distinguishing between allegations relating to the interpretation of the law by the Judge and allegations relating to the conduct of the Judge in the proceedings, the Plenary unanimously dismissed the Applications,” a decision issued on June 23, 2014 reads. The judges found that none of the arguments put forward by the defense teams of four of the accused persons “substantiated any allegations of bias, or the appearance thereof.”
In seeking Judge Tarfusser’s disqualification, defense teams argued that he had issued “unorthodox and legally unsubstantiated judicial … Continue Reading
The schedule for confirmation of charges proceedings against Jean-Pierre Bemba and his four co-accused has been further extended due to the late submission of an independent counsel’s report on the intercepted communications of the suspects.
“Since the independent Counsel’s third and final report was made available to the parties almost four weeks later than expected, at the time of the first amendment decision, it is appropriate that the calendar for the confirmation of charges in writing be accordingly amended,” Judge Cuno Tarfusser ruled on May 28.
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors now have until June 30 to file the document containing the charges (DCC) and lists of evidence against the Congolese politician, two lawyers who formerly represented him in his ongoing war … Continue Reading
Trial judges have set an October 2014 date for the closing arguments in the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a May 26 ruling, judges Sylvia Steiner, Joyce Aluoch, and Kuniko Ozaki also decided that should Mr. Bemba be found guilty, they would issue separate decision on his sentence.
In the event of a conviction, the prosecution, the defense, and victims’ lawyer will file written requests to submit further evidence or to call witnesses, including any requests for protective measures for the witnesses, within two weeks of the issuance of the judgment.
Mr. Bemba, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been on trial in The Hague since November 2010. He is accused of failing … Continue Reading
After nearly three and a half years, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have declared that the submission of evidence in the trial of Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba’s has come to an end.
In an April 7, 2014 ruling, the prosecution and the victims’ lawyer were directed to file their closing briefs by June 2, 2014. The defense was asked to state whether it was still interested in receiving a French translation of the prosecution’s closing brief before making its submissions.
Judges previously ruled that the defense would file its closing brief within 12 weeks of receiving the submissions of the prosecution and victims’ lawyer because they would have to be translated for the bilingual defense team.
The evidence admitted in the … Continue Reading
Evidence relating to alleged witness tampering by Jean-Pierre Bemba will not be admitted into the case record of his ongoing war crimes trial. Trial judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have ruled that admitting that material is not appropriate at the current stage of proceedings.
In an April 2, 2014 order, judges Sylvia Steiner, Joyce Aluoch, and Kuniko Ozaki said the evidence, including an audio recording, a report, and a financial chart, were part of material in a separate case brought before the ICC.
“The chamber does not consider it in the interest of justice for matters which may be central to the charges before the pre-trial chamber to be litigated in parallel before the trial chamber,” the judges ruled. They … Continue Reading
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has been ordered to disclose to defense lawyers information provided by an anonymous informant on a witness bribery scheme purportedly run by Jean-Pierre Bemba.
However, in the ruling, issued on March 27, Judge Cuno Tarfusser ordered that any information which could lead to the identification of the unnamed individual should be withheld from the material handed over.
“It is necessary and appropriate that any and all information possibly leading to his or her identification (in particular, names and pseudonyms, email addresses, locations and travelling plans) be redacted,” he said.
Last month, Mr Bemba’s lawyers asked judges for permission to obtain information that would help to identify the informant whose tip off led to charges of witness bribery … Continue Reading
An International Criminal Court (ICC) pre-trial judge has granted the prosecution’s request for an extension of deadlines for confirmation of charges proceedings against Jean-Pierre Bemba and his four co-accused.
Judge Cuno Tarfusser ruled that prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request was justified because of a delay of the final report by an independent counsel, who reviewed evidence from the accused individuals’ intercepted communications.
The judge said the independent counsel’s final report was complete but still under judicial review by Dutch authorities, who were unlikely to transmit it to the court before May 2014.
“The availability of the final report to the parties and to the court appears of essence to the determinations to be made by the chamber,” he said.
However, Judge Tarfusser said the prosecution’s … Continue Reading
Narcisse Arido, who had earlier been expected to testify in Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba’s trial, appeared before an International Criminal Court (ICC) judge today to answer to charges of witness tampering.
Mr. Arido said he was born in Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) and has been living in Cameroon since 2001. He described himself as a lawyer by profession and currently a “political refugee.”
Xavier-Jean Keita, who represented Mr. Arido, said “irregularities” had occurred following the suspect’s arrest by French authorities last November. He said his client was denied contact with his family for longer than a week. “This is not something that ICC law allows,” said Mr. Keita.
The lawyer also said three individuals claiming to be from the … Continue Reading