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Bemba Trial Continues in Closed Session

The war crimes trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday continued to hear the testimony of ‘Witness 44.’ As has been the case since he first took the stand last Friday, the witness testified entirely in closed session.

The witness was formerly an insider in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), the group founded by the accused. Judges said he would give all his testimony in closed public.

Mr. Bemba is on trial for purportedly failing to stop or to punish his soldiers who prosecutors say committed mass rapes, killings, and plunder in the Central African Republic (CAR) during 2002 and 2003. The MLC were in the country on the invitation of former president Ange-Félix Patassé, to help him fight off an armed insurgency.

‘Witness 44’ is the 38th witness to be called by prosecutors since the start of the trial in November 2010. The prosecution is expected to call two more witnesses before it closes its case.

Hearings are scheduled to continue tomorrow morning.

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