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Bemba Hearings to Resume Tomorrow

Hearings in Jean-Pierre Bemba’s trial are scheduled to resume tomorrow, when one of four outstanding witnesses is expected to commence his testimony. Hearings were cancelled for many weeks as none of the pending witnesses was ready to appear before the court.

Last week, International Criminal Court (ICC) judges allowed the defense to call ‘Witness D04-54′ after the expiry of the earlier deadline of October 25. Judges also directed court officials to establish whether three other individuals on the defense witness list would be available to testify. These are: ‘Witness D04-14,’ ‘Witness D04- 41,’ and ‘Witness D04-44.’

So far, 32 witnesses have testified for Mr. Bemba, a Congolese opposition politician on trial over crimes his Movement for the Liberation of Congo soldiers are alleged to have committed during 2002 and 2003. His trial commenced in November 2010.

According to defense lawyers, Mr. Bemba will make an unsworn statement once all witnesses have testified. Meanwhile, judges have said they would request two individuals whose names were repeatedly mentioned by prosecution and defense witnesses, to testify in the trial.