International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Second to Last Prosecution Witness Against Bemba Still in Closed Session

A former insider in the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) currently testifying against the group’s leader Jean-Pierre Bemba today continued giving evidence – all of it closed to the public. Like the preceding witness, also formerly a senior member in the group founded and led by the accused, none of his evidence will be in open session.

‘Witness 15’ started his testimony yesterday, but it is not known when he will complete. Before him was ‘Witness 44,’ who also served in Mr. Bemba’s group. Some of the insider witnesses who testified earlier, such as ‘Witness 75,’ ‘Witness 63,’ ‘Witness 169,’ and ‘Witness 32,’ gave evidence against their former leader entirely in closed session.

According to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), these insiders are providing evidence on the command structure of operations carried out in the Central African Republic (CAR) at the time Mr. Bemba’s troops were in that country fighting alongside President Ange-Félix Patassé’s forces.

The insiders are also providing evidence linking Mr. Bemba to the crimes of rape, murder, and pillaging with which he is charged. Prosecutors say these crimes were committed between October 2002 and March 2003.

Once ‘Witness 15’ completes his testimony, prosecutors will call ‘Witness 36,’ who will testify via video link from Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The prosecution confirmed today that ‘Witness 36’ will be the last of their 40 witnesses to testify against Mr. Bemba, who is accused of failing to stop and to punish his soldiers who allegedly carried out rapes, murders, and pillaging against Central African civilians.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow morning.

 

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