The 38th witness called by prosecutors in the war crimes trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is giving all his testimony in closed session.
Before the witness appeared in court today, Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner announced that following a confidential ruling issued this morning, the evidence of ‘Witness 44’ “will be heard in full closed session.” She did not give any details.
‘Witness 44’ is one of four former insiders in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) who prosecutors are bringing to the ICC to testify against the group’s president, whose trial started in November 2010. ‘Witness 45,’ the first of these insider witness to testify since the resumption of the trial on Monday this week, completed his testimony yesterday.
Prosecutors claim Mr. Bemba is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity arising from his alleged failure to control his soldiers, who allegedly raped, killed, and pillaged during their deployment in the Central African Republic. The crimes, which he has denied, were allegedly committed in 2002 and 2003.
It is unclear how long the testimony of ‘Witness 44’ will last. Once he complete, prosecutors will call two more witnesses before they close their case.
The trial is scheduled to continue on Monday.