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Bemba Trial Continues in Private Session

Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba’s trial today continued to be held in closed session, as the 20th witness called by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors testified for the fifth day.

The only moment ‘Witness 63’ appeared in open session was at the very start of the day’s proceedings when he confirmed that he was ready to continue giving evidence. Even then, he had his face and voice distorted to keep his identity secret.

Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner reminded the witness that if he were to testify in open session, he should avoid mentioning information that could lead to his identity becoming known by the public. The judge said the witness was to avoid mention of his name and any identifying information for his family members and friends.

Mr. Bemba is on trial for allegedly failing to stop or to punish his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) troops who brutalized Central African citizens during 2002 and 2003. He has denied the charges.