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BEMBA TRIAL RESUMES NEXT WEEK

The trial of Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba is scheduled to resume on Tuesday, January 11, at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mr. Bemba, 48, stands accused of two crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three war crimes (murder, rape, and pillaging) allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between October 26, 2002 and March 15, 2003.

Although Mr. Bemba himself was not in the CAR with his Congolese troops, prosecutors contend that he is criminally responsible for having failed to stop or to punish them when they committed the crimes.

The trial, which started on November 22, 2010, has been on a break since early December. Three witnesses have so far testified, with 37 others scheduled to testify for the prosecution. Mr. Bemba has denied all the charges, arguing that once his troops crossed from the Democratic Republic of Congo to neighboring CAR, they ceased to be under his control.

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