The testimony of the fourth to last defense witness in the Jean-Pierre Bemba trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be heard from Wednesday, October 3, according to an updated hearing schedule. Going by the pseudonym ‘Witness D04-54,’ this individual had earlier been scheduled to start testifying today. The reasons for the postponement have not been made public.
Judges granted ‘Witness D04-54’ leave to testify via video link from an unknown location due to his “professional commitments.” Defense lawyers had applied for authorization to hear his testimony remotely in order to ensure his appearance before the October 25, 2013 deadline for the close of the defense case.
Mr. Bemba, the fourth Congolese national to be tried at The Hague based court, stands accused of failing to control or punish his Movement for the Liberation of Congo troops who reportedly brutalized civilians during the 2002-2003 armed conflict in the Central African Republic. He has pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him.
Prosecutors called 40 witnesses between the start of the trial in November 2010 and March last year. The defense, whose case opened in August 2012, has so far called 32 witnesses.