International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Who’s Who

The Accused

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo: Leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC); Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from July 2003 to December 2006.

Judges of Trial Chamber III

  • Sylvia Steiner (Presiding)
  • Kuniko Ozaki
  • Joyce Aluoch

The Prosecution

  • Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor
  • Petra Kneur, Senior Trial Lawyer
  • Jean-Jacques Badibanga, Trial Lawyer
  • Massimo Scaliotti, Trial Lawyer
  • Ibrahim Yillah, Trial Lawyer
  • Eric Iverson, Trial Lawyer
  • Thomas Bifwoli, Associate Trial Lawyer
  • Hesham Mourad, Associate Trial Lawyer
  • Bärbel Carl, Associate Trial Lawyer
  • Horejah Bala-Gaye, Assistant Trial Lawyer

The Defense

  • Peter Haynes

Legal Representatives of the Victims

  • Marie-Edith Douzima-Lawson
  • Paolina Massidda (Office of Public Counsel for Victims)

Registry

  • Herman von Hebel, Registrar

Key groups and organizations that could be referred to during the trial

  • APRD (Popular Army for the Restoration of Democracy): A rebel group active in the north since 2005, initially consisting of past members of former President Patassé’s presidential guard and led by Malian national Florian Ndjadder. Former Defense Minister Jean-Jacques Demafouth became its political leader in 2008, operating from exile in France.
  • Banyamulenge: Ethnic Tutsi concentrated in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the CAR, “Banyamulenge” is also frequently used ot refer to Jean-Pierre Bemba’s MLC militia (see below).
  • BINUCA (UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic): A follow-on mission to BONUCA (see below).
  • BONUCA (UN Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic): UN office active from February 2000 to January 2010 with a mandate to provide the government with political advice.
  • CEMAC: Central African Economic and Monetary Community.
  • CEN-SAD (Community of Saharan-Sahel States): An international organization of 21 states founded with strong Libyan backing in February 1998.
  • CPJP (Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace): A rebel group that emerged in 2008.
  • ECCAS: Economic Community of Central African States.
  • EUFOR (European Union Force in Chad and the Central African Republic): A European peacekeeping force of 3,700 troops, active from March 2008 to March 2009.
  • FACA: Forces Armées Centrafricaines. The armed forces of the Central African Republic (CAR), established after independence in 1960.
  • FDPC (Democratic Front for the People of the Central African Republic): A militia active in northern CAR since 2005, led by Colonel Abdoulaye Miskine.
  • FOMUC (Multinational Force in the Central African Republic): Name of a security force for then-President Patassé, made up of 350 soldiers from three African countries. It received its mandate from CEMAC.
  • KNK (Kwan Na Kwa): President Bozizé’s political party. In the Sango language, the name means “Work, Nothing but Work”.
  • MICOPAX (Mission for the Consolidation of Peace in the CAR): Small peacekeeping and support mission of the ECCAS with 500 personnel from five African countries deployed since July 2008.
  • MINURCA (United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic): Deployed from April 1998 to February 2000 with a mandate for peacekeeping in and around Bangui, supervision and monitoring of disarmament, assistance in capacity building, and support of presidential elections.
  • MINURCAT (United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad): Police training and judicial reform mission launched in September 2007. A military component was added in March 2008, so that MINURCAT would be able to take over the work of EUFOR after its withdrawal.
  • MISAB (Observer Mission for the Bangui Accords): A small inter-African mission deployed in CAR following the 1997 Bangui Agreements.
  • MLC: Movement for the Liberation of the Congo. Founded in 1998 by Jean-Pierre Bemba, this rebel group turned political party is based out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). With Ugandan support, the MLC fought the DRC government during the Second Congo War. Shortly thereafter it took part in the transitional government and is currently the main opposition to the sitting government.
  • MLCJ (Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice): A rebel militia that broke away from the UFDR in August 2008, led by Abakar Sobone.
  • MLPC (Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People): The political party of former President Ange-Félix Patassé. Currently led by 2005 presidential candidate Martin Ziguélé.
  • MNSP (National Movement for Salvation of the Homeland): A rebel militia that split away from the MLCJ in May 2009 and is led by Hassan Ousman.
  • UFDR (Union of Democratic Forces): A rebel group operating in northern CAR since November 2006, near the border with Sudan. Its members are largely of Gula ethnicity. It is led by Zacharia Damane. President Bozizé has accused the government of Sudan of backing the UFDR.
  • USP (United Presidential Security): The CAR presidential guard, which is formally called the Protection and Security of Institutions Battalion (BPSI).

Key Individuals Referred to During Bemba’s Trial

  • Jean-Bedel Bokassa: President of CAR from 1966-1979. He declared himself emperor in 1974.
  •  François Bozizé: Current president of the Central African Republic. Assumed power in 2003 after leading a rebellion against former president Ange-Félix Patassé.
  • David Dacko: French-backed first president of CAR from 1960 to 1965. He was toppled in a coup launched by his cousin, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, on New Year’s Eve 1965. Dacko returned to power through a French-supported coup in 1979. In turn, in 1981, Army Chief of Staff André Kolingba toppled Dacko in a bloodless coup.
  • Jean-Jacques Demafouth: Defense Minister under President Patassé until Patassé accused him of complicity in a 2001 coup attempt. Since 2008, political head of the APRD rebel militia. Resides in France.
  • Joseph Kabila: Current president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the son of Laurent Kabila. Joseph Kabila defeated Jean-Pierre Bemba in 2006 presidential elections in the DRC, the outcome of which Bemba disputed.
  • Laurent Kabila: Former President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, assassinated in 2001. Father of Joseph Kabila.
  • André Kolingba: President of the CAR from the time he toppled David Dacko in a coup in 1981 until he lost elections to Ange-Félix Patassé in 1993. Kolingba failed with a May 2001 coup attempt against Patassé.
  • Martin Koumtamadji (a.k.a. Colonel Abdoulaye Miskine): a Chadian national who since 2005 has led the Libyan-backed Democratic Front for the People of the Central African Republic (FDPC). Served as an aide to former President Patassé from 1993-2003. Patassé placed Koumatamadji in charge of a special unit outside the army to fight coup attempts by François Bozizé in 2002 and 2003.
  • Abdoulaye Miskine: see Koumtamadji, Martin.
  • Ange-Félix Patassé: President of CAR from his victory in 1993 elections. He was re-elected in 1999, but deposed in a 2003 coup led by François Bozizé. While in power, Patassé invited Jean-Pierre Bemba’s MLC into CAR.
  • Martin Ziguélé: Served as prime minister under President Patassé from April 2001 until March 2003.

Prosecution Witnesses

  1. Witness 38:  A crime base witness, who testified that MLC troops robbed, beat, raped, and persecuted CAR civilians. He said that although there were many military groups in the area, only the MLC committed atrocities against civilians. He testified with voice and facial distortion.
  2. Dr. Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith: An expert witness, who is a counseling psychologist with New York University who has conducted clinical and psychological assessments of three victims of sexual violence in the Central African Republic (CAR). This witness described the ‘extensive’ PTSD, depression and anxiety suffered by CAR rape victims.
  3. Witness 22: A crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion. She described how MLC soldiers stormed her house, gang-raped her, looted her home and shot the family dog. She testified that the rapists spoke Lingala, a Congolese language, and French.
  4. Witness 87: Crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion. She told the court that three MLC soldiers raped her, shot and killed her brother and looted her home. According to her testimony, soldiers who committed atrocities in the CAR spoke Lingala, a Congolese language.
  5. Witness 68: Crime base witness, who testified that she was raped by two MLC soldiers while a third stepped on her arms to ensure she remained on the ground. She said that after her rape she was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Witness 68 testified that the soldiers who raped her spoke Lingala, a Congolese language.  She testified with face and voice distortion.
  6. Witness 23: Crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion. He said that three soldiers from Mr. Bemba’s militia raped him in the presence of his wives and children. He also said that over a period of four days, the Congolese soldiers repeatedly raped his children and his wives.
  7. Witness 81: Crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion. She said that she was raped by four MLC soldiers and then fled from her home. She said when she returned, she found MLS soldiers in front of her home that forced her to cook for them.
  8. Witness 82: Crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion. She testified that two MLC soldiers raped her when she was 12 years old. She said the Congolese soldiers also raped her sisters and her grandmother and bludgeoned her brother to death.
  9. Witness 80: Crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion. She testified that she, her four children, and her husband were subject to multiple rapes by the MLC soldiers. The witness also said that her home was looted.
  10. Witness 42: Crime base witness, who testified with face and voice distortion and much of his testimony was given in closed session. He said that MLC soldiers had looted his home and shop, raped his ten-year-old daughter, and forced his son to cook for them on the front lines.
  11. Witness 73: Crime base witness, who testified with facial and voice distortion and claimed that MLC soldiers had raped his neighbor’s young daughter and looted his neighbor’s kiosk. In his victim application, he claimed that MLC soldiers had raped his daughter. In court, he recanted, saying that his then 10 year old daughter had consensual sex with an MLC soldier. He testified that a man who identified himself as a staff of the ICC reparations office advised him to make false claims in his victim application.
  12. Witness 79: Crime base witness, who testified with voice and facial distortion. She testified that MLC soldiers raped her and her 11 year old daughter. She also testified that the MLC, under the leadership of an aide to then-CAR president Patassé, attacked a cattle market during which her husband was killed.
  13. Witness 29: Crime base witness, who gave most of her testimony in closed session and testified with voice and facial distortion. The witness testified that she tested positive for HIV after she was raped by three MLC soldiers.
  14. Witness 11: Crime base witness, who testified she recognized soldiers as being a part of the MLC because they spoke Lingala. She said these soldiers committed brutalities in the CAR in 2002 and 2003, including gang-rape and looting.
  15. Professor William Samarin: A linguistics and anthropology expert, who testified that MLC fighters may have spoken other languages besides Lingala, a Bantu language native to the DRC. The expert witness testified that the DRC is the only one among countries that neighbor the CAR where there are Bantu-speaking populations.
  16. Witness 75: An insider witness, who testified entirely in closed session. According to prosecutors, this witness gave evidence linking Mr. Bemba to the crimes allegedly committed by his troops in the CAR. He also testified about the MLC command structure of operations.
  17. Firmin Feindiro: A crimes based witness, who is the Central African Prosecutor-General. He told the court about an inquiry he led into crimes committed during the 2002–2003 conflict. The probe included abuses allegedly committed by Mr. Bemba’s armed group and concluded that Mr. Patassé commanded all Central African government troops and their allies in the country, including the MLC. He said that the MLC had committed most of the crimes he had investigated, including rape, murder, theft, and looting. He said that they concluded that Mr. Bemba and others had “intellectual responsibility” for these crimes and charged him for these crimes.
  18. Dr. André Tabo: An expert on sexual violence as a tool of war, who treated and assessed numerous women raped during that conflict. He said MLC soldiers raped CAR women as “punishment” for supporting rebels who attempted to overthrow then president Ange-Félix Patassé. He also said that women were considered to be ‘war booty.’
  19. Pamphile Oradimo: The Senior Investigating Judge of the CAR, testified as a crime base witness that CAR generals told him that when Mr. Bemba’s troops were in the country, they were commanded by former president Ange-Félix Patassé. He testified that after his investigation, he did not find sufficient evidence implicating Mr. Bemba in crimes allegedly committed by the MLC during 2002 and 2003.
  20. Witness 63: An insider witness, who testified with voice and facial distortion and gave much of his testimony in closed session. Witness 63 described how MLC fighters raped, looted, and murdered civilians with impunity in the towns of PK 12, PK 45, and Damara. He claimed atrocities worsened after a visit by Mr. Bemba. He also testified that the MLC used child soldiers as scouts.
  21. Witness 209: A crime base witness, who testified with voice and facial distortion. He claimed he saw MLC soldiers load pillaged items into an aircraft that were transported to the DRC. He testified about widespread looting by MLC soldiers in Damara. The witness also said that Rwandan nationals served in the MLC, as well as former Mobutu soldiers and Mbaka-speaking people.
  22. Witness 110: A crime base witness, who testified with protective measures, including voice and facial distortion. She testified that MLC soldiers looted property from her house and that of her neighbor. She said the soldiers occupied her neighbor’s house for several months.
  23. Witness 112: A crime base witness, who testified that MLC troops occupied Begua, a town in CAR, for three months, where they looted houses. The witness said that MLC soldiers had murdered his wife. He said Mr. Bemba regularly called the commander stationed in Begua. Witness 112 testified with voice and facial distortion.
  24. Flavien Mbata: A director in the Constitutional Court of the Central African Republic, testified via video link from Bangui. As a crime base witness, he testified that his house was looted by the MLC, who forcefully occupied the house for three months, leaving behind military documents when they withdrew.
  25. Witness 169:  An insider witness, who testified entirely in closed session. According to prosecutors, this witness gave evidence linking Mr. Bemba to the crimes allegedly committed by MLC troops in the CAR. He also testified about the MLC command structure.
  26. Witness 173: An insider witness, who testified about numerous atrocities allegedly committed by Mr. Bemba’s troops, including rapes, killings, and plunder. He explained that because Mr. Bemba did not pay his troops, the fighters had to fend for themselves and ignored the MLC code of conduct. He testified with image and voice distortion, and much of his testimony was given in closed session.
  27. Witness 178: An insider witness, who testified with image and voice distortion and gave much of his evidence in closed session. He testified that CAR officials provided arms, uniforms, and communication devices to Mr. Bemba’s MLC troops upon their arrival in Bangui. The witness also named top MLC officers and stated that the accused, not Ange-Félix Patassé, then president of CAR, gave direct and frequent orders to the troops
  28. Witness 33: An insider witness, who testified with voice and facial distortion and gave most of his testimony in closed session. He testified about the activities of the MLC, including the strategic importance of Bangui for Mr. Bemba’s efforts in the DRC conflict. Witness 33 also testified that Mr. Bemba had a communication center near his residence, which he used to communicate with his commanders and that Mr. Bemba could issue direct orders to troops on the ground.
  29. Witness 32: An insider witness, who testified about the command structure of operations carried out in the CAR at the time Mr. Bemba’s troops were in that country fighting alongside President Ange-Félix Patassé’s forces. He also testified that supplies for the MLC came from Bangui, capital of the CAR. Much of this witness’ testimony was done in closed session. He testified with voice and facial distortion when in open session.
  30. Witness 65: A former insider in Mr. Bemba’s militia, testified about oral and written reports that Bemba received from his officers deployed in CAR, but claimed Mr. Bemba received only general information about the MLC troops. Distinct from other insiders, Witness 65 testified that Mr. Bemba would ask his commanders to enforce the MLC code of conduct. The witness testified with voice and facial distortion and frequently testified in closed session.
  31. Joseph Mokondoui: A crime base witness, who served in the Presidential Guard of the CAR up to 2009. The witness testified that Mr. Bemba’s troops did not carry out joint operations with the national army during their deployment in CAR in 2002 and 2003. However, according to the witness, the accused’s troops regularly received intelligence information from CAR military authorities. He also testified that rebel forces led by current president François Bozizé committed rapes and massacres in various towns on their match to the capture of the capital Bangui during 2003.
  32. Cyprien-Francis Ossibouyen: A crime base witness. He testified about incidents of gang-rape of CAR women by members of the accused’s militia. He testified that he saw a group of between 25 and 30 MLC soldiers rape 12 women. However, this witness’ testimony was inconsistent about the number and details of the incidents.
  33. Thierry Lengbe: A colonel in the Central African army. As crime base witness, he stated that Mr. Bemba’s MLC militia only carried out one joint operation with the CAR army. The colonel also stated that CAR army radio equipment did not work with the MLC communication equipment.
  34. Witness 213: An insider witness and former member of the MLC, testified that Mr. Bemba had a satellite phone at his residence that he used to communicate orders to his commanders. He said Mr. Bemba also had a communication center a few meters from his residence from which operators received daily reports via radio about operations in the CAR during 2002 and 2003. He said he heard Mr. Bemba issue orders about the CAR operations.
  35. Witness 69: A crime base witness, who testified with voice and image distortion and gave most of his evidence in closed session. He testified that MLC soldiers had killed his sister, raped his wife, and sodomized him.
  36. General Daniel Opande: An expert witness, who provided evidence on military command structures and command responsibility. A military expert, General Opande testified that Mr. Bemba had the means of exerting direct control over his MLC troops deployed in the CAR conflict during 2003 and 2003. He also testified that the MLC had a hierarchy and organization synonymous with military organization.
  37. Witness 45: An insider witness and former member of the MLC, gave most of his testimony in closed session. He testified about advising Mr. Bemba to take his soldiers to trial when they were accused of rapes, murders, and pillaging against civilians in the CAR. The witness said only a few soldiers were tried for extortion and exploitation of the population, and their trials were stage-managed by Mr. Bemba.
  38. Witness 44: An insider witness and former member of the MLC, testified entirely in closed session. According to prosecutors, this witness gave evidence linking Mr. Bemba to the crimes allegedly committed by Mr. Bemba’s troops in the CAR. He also testified about the MLC command structure.
  39. Witness 15: An insider witness, who testified entirely in closed session. According to prosecutors, this witness gave evidence linking Mr. Bemba to the crimes allegedly committed by Mr. Bemba’s troops in the CAR. He also testified about the MLC command structure.
  40. Witness 36: A former insider in the MLC, testified via video link from Kinshasa in the DRC due to health considerations. All of his testimony was heard in closed session. According to prosecutors, the testimony by this witness related to the MLC’s operations during their involvement in the conflict and Mr. Bemba’s alleged liability.

Victim Participants

  1. Pulchérie Makiandakama (Victim a/0866/10): The first victim to take the witness stand in the trial, who was called to give testimony by the judges. She told the court that she was twice gang-raped by soldiers belonging to the accused’s militia. She described pillaging and murder in the Mongoumba locality.
  2. Judes Mbetingou (Victim a/1317/10): The second victim to testify in this trial, who was called to testify by the Judges. He testified about indiscriminate pillaging and rape by Mr. Bemba’s MLC fighters upon their arrival in Sibut on February 24, 2003.
  3. Francis Félicien Vouloube De Mbioka (Victim a/0511/08): The victim was injured by a gunshot reportedly fired by the accused’s soldiers, and he was an eyewitness to the murder of his mother. He as not questioned under oath and her testimony will not form part of the evidence.  He testified via video link from Bangui, the capital of the CAR.
  4. Victim a/0394/08: A victim of pillage in Damara town, addressed court about the crimes of murder and rape.  He testified via video link from Bangui. Victim a/0394/08 stated that Mr. Bemba’s fighters occupied his house in Damara for two months. The soldiers looted all of his property and destroyed his house. He as not questioned under oath and her testimony will not form part of the evidence.
  5. Victim a/0542/08: A victim of pillage and rape allegedly carried out by Mr. Bemba’s soldiers in the Central African town of Bossangoa. Victim a/0542/08 addressed the court via video link from Bangui, the capital of the CAR. She was not questioned under oath and her testimony will not form part of the evidence.

Defense Witnesses

  1. Jacques Seara: A French military expert, who testified thatMr. Bemba did not command MLC troops in the CAR because he did not have the necessary means to do so. He stated that the Congolese troops were supplied with logistics and fell under the command of CAR authorities. According to his investigations, the Bozizé-led rebels were responsible for some atrocities.
  2. Octave Dioba: Also known as Witness D59, Mr. Dioba appeared as a geo-political expert. He stated that the MLC intervention in the CAR was legitimate as per the Lusaka Agreement and the mutual assistance pact of the CEMAC. He stated that the MLC, which was a recognized administrative and military authority in the Congo, was obliged to protect the national security of the country, including ensuring safety at its borders with neighboring countries.
  3. Professor Eyamba George Bokamba: A linguistics expert, who testified that speaking the language Lingala did not necessarily mean that the perpetrators of crimes against Central African civilians were Congolese. The professor, also known as Witness D60, described the origins and ‘social linguistics’ of the Lingala language. He stated that there were Central African citizens who spoke Lingala. These speakers included members of the CAR armed forces.
  4. Prosper Ndouba: A former spokesperson of president Patassé, Mr. Ndouba gave testimony about his abduction by the Bozizé rebels. He stated that during the 38 days that he was held hostage, he witnessed the rebels commit crimes including torture, rape, looting, and massacres. He added that some of his rebel captors spoke Lingala.
  5. Witness D04-07: A former FACA intelligence officer, Witness D04-07 testified that the MLC fell under CAR command. Testifying with his image and voice distorted to protect his identity, he also gave details of the logistics support given to the Congolese soldiers by Patassé’s government. He attributed some crimes to Bozizé rebels. His cross-examination by the Prosecution was conducted in closed session. On September 23, 2012, prior to the completion of his testimony, Witness D04-07 disappeared from his hotel room. He was reported missing and judges suspended his testimony until further notice.
  6. Witness D04-011: This witness was due to testify after Witness D04-07. However, he did not board the flight booked for him to travel to The Hague. In November 2013, it was revealed that this witness is Narcisse Arido, who was named in an ICC arrest warrant alleging he  provided false or forged documents and that he was an intermediary in transferring money to witnesses.
  7. Witness D04-50: A former staff of the USP, he said that MLC troops arrived in Bangui on October 30, 2002 and received USP uniforms. He also testified that during operations, USP led MLC soldiers around “unknown territory.” According to him, General Mazzi and Colonel Lengbe of the FACA commanded the joint troops. He stated that on a visit to the conflict country, Mr. Bemba ordered his fighters to obey General Mazzi, Colonel Lengbe and General Ferdinand Bombayake. He testified that he didn’t see any MLC crimes. Witness D04-50 testified with protective measures including image and voice distortion and most of his testimony was heard in closed session.
  8. Witness D04-57: A former senior member of Patassé’s security forces, who said that during their first deployment to the CAR in 2001, the MLC protected civilians. According to him, there were some Congolese nationals among Bozizé’s rebels, and they spoke Lingala. These Congolese were recruited into the rebel forces well before the arrival of the MLC in the CAR in October 2002. He testified that the MLC had “good” working relations with their Central African counterparts. Witness D04- 57 also said that in 2008 he met ICC officials who interviewed him about the conflict, but he didn’t know why they did not call him to testify. This witness testified with protective measures.
  9. Witness D04-64: Another former official in the government of president Patassé, he testified that the MLC were not under the command of Mr. Bemba but that of Central African generals. These CAR authorities provided MLC troops with uniforms, communications equipment, vehicles, weapons and monetary allowances for food and other necessities. He also said that Mr. Bemba’s troops did not arrive in the CAR until October 30, 2002. Witness D04-64 testified with protective measures including image and voice distortion.
  10. 10.  Witness D04-51: This witness testified that Patassé issued commands to MLC soldiers through General Bombayake. He said Patassé followed the MLC’s entire field operations through a communications system set up at his residence and that CAR soldiers led the Congolese soldiers during operations because the latter did not know the terrain. He said the MLC troops arrived on October 30, 2002. Under cross-examination by the prosecution, Witness D04-51 denied being paid to testify for Mr. Bemba. This witness testified with protective measures.
  11. Witness D04-55: This individual was granted in-court protective measures, including image and voice distortion of public broadcasts of his testimony. Before he started testifying, he expressed concerns about his safety and made a request to judges for all of his evidence to be heard in closed session. In moments where his testimony was heard in open court, he denied being coached by defense lawyers or receiving any money during meetings with the defense team.
  12. Witness D04-48: This witness testified that MLC soldiers convicted of crimes committed in the CAR were investigated, prosecuted and sentenced. All the sentenced soldiers served their full jail terms in Congo. He recalled that MLC had an effective military courts system which was set up in 2001. He testified with protective measures including image and voice distortion.
  13. Witness D04-49: A former insider in the MLC, who said that troops in the group were well trained. He said military discipline, as set out in the group’s code of conduct, was emphasized during training. Testifying with protective measures, he added that the code of conduct was popularized among soldiers by being published in the Congolese language Lingala and in French. He said the MLC’s operations in Congo were coordinated through a communications center located two or three meters from the residence of Colonel Dieudonné Amuli, the MLC chief of staff.
  14. Witness D04-16: This witness also defended discipline among MLC soldiers and the effectiveness of the group’s court martial. He testified that frequent training sessions were held for all units, both at the frontline and operational levels. His evidence was heard with his image and voice distorted in order to protect his identity.
  15. Witness D04-66: A trader who supplied foodstuffs to MLC during their deployment in the CAR. He testified, with protective measures, that he did not see or hear of any crimes committed by the MLC. He only heard of one incident of looting by Bozizé soldiers.
  16. Witness D04-19: This was the first defense witness to testify at the resumption of hearings following the temporary suspension of the trial. He was also the first defense witness to testify via video link. All of his testimony was heard in closed session.
  17. Witness D04-45: A former member of the MLC, he said the Congolese troops were integrated into the CAR army and were commanded by CAR generals during operations. He denied the presence of MLC troops in some of the towns where prosecutors allege crimes took place. During the course of his video link testimony, he was found with notes on his person. He denied prosecution suggestions that the notes were a script given to him relating to matters in contention at the trial.
  18. Witness D04- 21: This witness, a former senior member of the MLC, said Mr. Bemba had an “elementary” military background that made it impossible for him to individually make major decisions related to military operations. He said the MLC troops adhered to a strict code of conduct and were well trained, some of them from military academies in the UK and the United States. The witness said following allegations of his troops’ misconduct, Mr. Bemba formed a commission of inquiry that travelled to the CAR to investigate. This witness, who was unable to travel to the seat of the court in The Hague due to the ill health of an individual close to him, testified via video link.
  19. Witness D4-39: Another former MLC insider, he said that Mr. Bemba delegated command of his troops to Central African authorities because it would have been difficult for him to obtain intelligence information from the battlefield and react to it in a timely manner. He also said the Congolese troops received logistical support from the CAR army as it was difficult for the MLC to supply those units from its headquarters in Congo, due to the distance and limited means. He testified remotely via video link.
  20. Witness D04-56: This individual was a former fighter in the Bozizé rebellion. He said that his colleagues committed rape, murder, and pillaging, and that during these marauding operations, they spoke the Congolese language Lingala. He explained that the rebels used Lingala because they noticed it instilled fear in the civilian population and they would comply more easily with their demands. According to him, the violent behavior of the Bozizé rebels “wasn’t anything out of the ordinary” but a “generalized” method of operation. Testifying via video link, he said that he was unaware of crimes perpetrated by the MLC.
  21. Witness DO-18: A former high-ranking officer in the MLC, he absolved Mr. Bemba of command and control. He stated that the group’s operations and discipline were the responsibility of the Chief of General Staff, Colonel Dieudonné Amuli. The witness was in the contingent of MLC soldiers that intervened in the CAR during 2001. He said during that intervention, MLC troops fought alongside the FACA and received orders from General François Bozizé, who at the time was the chief of staff. Regarding an account given by Mr. Bemba in his book about issuing orders to the troops deployed in the CAR in 2001, Witness D04-18 said it was inaccurate and that the book’s editors could have embellished it for “political propaganda purposes.” During his video link testimony, the witness said he had left the military by the time of the 2002-2003 conflict. As such, he was unable to testify to testify about the particular events over which Mr. Bemba is on trial.
  22. Witness D04-02: A former soldier in the CAR armed forces, he placed blame for crimes committed against civilians during the conflict on the Bozizé rebels. He said following their arrival, the Bemba troops received uniforms and other necessities, including communication devices “exactly like the CAR soldiers” from the country’s authorities. He stated that joint operations by the MLC and FACA to drive the Bozizé’s rebels from Bangui commenced on October 30. He testified via video link.
  23. Witness D04-09: A former military officer in the CAR army, he said the MLC troops were integrated in the country’s army. He said that he was not aware of any crimes committed by Mr. Bemba’s troops and laid blame for murders and pillaging on the Bozizé led rebels. He testified via video link.
  24. Witness D04-03: This witness also served in the FACA. He too attributed violent atrocities to the Bozizé’s rebels. In addition, he said that his colleagues committed acts of violence against individuals they suspected of supporting the Bozizé rebellion. He appeared via video link.
  25. Witness D04-04: Recalled the arrival of the MLC troops into the CAR. He stated that the troops were merged with local forces and that orders for joint operations were issued through the Center for Command Operations (CCOP), which he said was headed by Central African generals. He said he was not aware of any MLC crimes and that there may have been “confusion” over the identity of the perpetrators of crimes. He also said it was possible that Central African soldiers who spoke Lingala, a language native to the Democratic Republic of Congo, committed crimes. He appeared via video link.
  26. Witness D04-06: A former Central African soldier, he said his country’s army commanders issued orders to Bemba’s troops. According to him, the CAR forces and their MLC counterparts were in “good coordination” throughout the operations. He denied any knowledge of crimes perpetrated by the Congolese troops. He testified for two days via video link from an undisclosed location in Africa.
  27. Witness D04-23: By way of video link, this witness testified that during October 2002, the Bozizé rebels pillaged several towns, including Fu, Boy-Rabé, and PK 12. He also attributed acts of rape to the rebels, including an incident that affected him personally. According to this witness, the rebels spoke numerous languages, including the Central African dialect Sango, French, and Lingala. He testified via video link.
  28. Witness D04-26: In his video link testimony, he blamed the Bozizé rebels for crimes committed during the conflict. The prosecution challenged him, stating that he had earlier indicated that he had knowledge of MLC operations during the conflict and yet he gave no evidence to that effect throughout his testimony. The witness explained that he was being “cautious” during his initial contact with defense lawyers.
  29. Witness D04-25: A former member of Mr. Bemba’s personal security detail, he downplayed the role played by his former boss in commanding MLC troops. According to him, military operations were the remit of the group’s chief of general staff, Dieudonné Amuli. He also stated that prior to the troops’ departure for the CAR, the accused did not give a speech which purportedly fuelled their misconduct. He testified via video link.
  30. Witness D04-36: This witness testified that when Bozizé’s rebels arrived in his neighborhood on October 31, 2002, the local population fled their homes and the rebels started looting property, which they loaded on trucks. Testifying remotely by way of video link, he said the rebels carted away TV sets, recorders, suitcases, boxes of canned foods, bags of sugar, and generator sets.
  31. Witness D04-29: This witness told the trial that three rebels loyal to François Bozizé raped his wife and two others assaulted him on October 26, 2002. He said he heard reports of pillaging by the Congolese, but the fighters he saw retreating back to their country did not carry any looted goods. He did not hear or witness rape or murder by the troops. He testified via video link.
  32. Witness D04-30: The only female witness who testified for the defense, the witness said that she was a victim of rape by the Bozizé’s rebels. This witness testified she subsequently learned that the rebels, who spent three days in her neighborhood, raped other women and committed other brutalities.  Testifying via video link, she affirmed that she did not hear of any crimes perpetrated by Mr. Bemba’s troops.
  33. Witness D04-15: A former MLC official, he told the trial that the once deployed in the CAR, the Congolese troops fell under the command of Central African authorities. He said that this decision was taken by the MLC high command at a meeting that took place in the Congolese town of Gbadolite on October 27, 2002. The troops were deployed into the conflict on October 30 and did not receive any supplies from Congo thereafter, he said.  The witness also stated that when Mr. Bemba heard about allegations of his troops’ misconduct, he contacted CAR authorities and ordered an investigation. According to this witness, Mr. Bemba did not have a satellite phone at his disposal to issue commands to his troops out in the field. He testified via video link.
  34. Witness D04-54: All of the evidence by this individual was heard in closed session. He testified for three days via video link.
  35. Witness D04-13: This witness, who was among the MLC troops deployed in the CAR, said they did not arrive into the conflict country until October 29, 2002. He said a small delegation of about 100 soldiers went into the country on October 26 for a meeting with local commanders, but they returned to the DRC the same day. During his testimony, he stated that he did not meet with prosecutors because he feared he would be prosecuted. Prosecutors asked him about inconsistencies between his testimony and documents tendered into evidence that indicated the MLC troops arrived in the conflict country on October 25. The witness explained that he was testifying about his experience and only the authors of the documents could testify about their contents. The witness also recalled the logistics support received from CAR officials including, an offer of a house for Mustafa Mukiza – the commander of the MLC troops in the CAR – to live in, which he declined. He was the last defense witness to give oral evidence and testified via video link.

Witnesses Called by the Judges

  1. Witness CHM-01: All of the evidence by this individual was heard in closed session through video link. He was one of two individuals that judges requested to testify in the trial. According to the judges, the names of the two individuals were “repeatedly mentioned” by prosecution and defense witnesses, yet none of the parties in the trial had called them to give evidence. The second individual declined to testify for reasons not made public.

Geographical terms referred to in the trial

  • Bangui: The capital of the Central African Republic and a location in which the Prosecutor claims some of Bemba’s alleged crimes were committed.
  • Bossongoa: A town in northwestern CAR that is the capital of Ouham prefecture, and a location in which the Prosecutor claims that some of Bemba’s crimes took place.
  • Boy-Rabé: A neighborhood in Bangui, and one of the specific locations where the Prosecutor claims that some of Bemba’s alleged crimes took place.
  • Combattant: A suburb of Bangui.
  • Mongoumba: A town along the DRC border near Bangui, and one of the locations where the Prosecutor claims that some of Bemba’s alleged crimes took place.
  • Oubangúi: The river that runs through Bangui and forms part of CAR’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • PK12 (Point Kilomètre 12): A suburb of Bangui where the Prosecutor claims some of Bemba’s alleged crimes took place.
  • PK 22 (Point Kilomètre 22): A town near Bangui and one of the locations where the Prosecutor claims that some of Bemba’s alleged crimes took place.