Prosecutors today called the 29th witness to testify against Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, who has been on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) since last November.
The witness, presumably a former insider in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), the group founded by the accused, testified under the pseudonym ‘Witness 32’ with his face and voice distorted in order to keep his identity secret. Most of his testimony was given in closed session.
Under questioning by prosecution lawyer Eric Iverson, the witness said the MLC received their fuel supplies from Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic (CAR). He added that the Uganda government supplied weapons to the MLC while Libyan planes were used in training the accused’s forces. However, the witness did not know whether Libya supplied arms to group.
‘Witness 32’ stated that he met ICC prosecution investigators during May 2008. The investigators were interested in establishing who in the MLC were responsible for the crimes committed in the CAR during 2002 and 2003.
“They were seeking to discover the truth about what happened in the CAR. For this reason they were looking for people who had some knowledge either through having received information or having been there themselves,” explained the witness. His subsequent cross-examination by defense counsel Aime Kilolo-Musamba was conducted in private session.
Mr. Bemba’s troops reportedly carried out mass rapes, killings, and looting while they were deployed in the CAR. He is on trial for allegedly looking on as his troops brutalized Central African civilians.
The defense continues its cross-examination of ‘Witness 32’ on Monday morning.