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Bemba Case: ICC Video Summaries and News Coverage on ICC Interim Release
21 Aug 2009
Please find below information about recent developments related to the
investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Central African
Republic (CAR) and in particular the latest developments in the case The
Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo.
This news digest includes video summaries issued by the ICC on the latest
decision on interim release in the Bemba case as well as related news coverage
(I) including a statement by the French Foreign Ministry (II) and information on
the amicus curiae brief submitted by CICC Member NGO Women's Initiatives (III).
More information on the Bemba case can be found on the CICC website at:
http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=bemba as well as on the ICC website at:
I. INTERIM RELEASE DECISION IN BEMBA CASE: VIDEOS AND NEWS COVERAGE
On 14 August 2009, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II granted interim release to
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo who is awaiting his trial scheduled to start in 2010.
The Chamber still has to determine to which state and under which conditions
Bemba will be provisionally released.
Bemba will not be released until a state agrees to host him. Several public
hearings are scheduled between 7 and 14 September 2009 to hear the views of
states that may host him, the prosecutor, victims and the suspect. States to
which Bemba sought to be released and that will present their views to the
Chamber include Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, South Africa and Italy. Once
Bemba's trial is set to open in The Hague, authorities of the state hosting
Bemba have the obligation to surrender him to the Court to stand trial.
The ICC Prosecutor announced his decision to appeal the decision. Former DRC
Vice-President Bemba faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in
The decision can be found at:
A. ICC VIDEO LINKS
i. Links to the video and audio materials related to the decision of Pre -Trial
Chamber II on conditional release of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, International
criminal court, 15 August 2009, (in French):
(1) Ms Silvana Arbia, Registrar of the Court
Audio and Video: http://drop.io/Silvana_Arbia_provisional
You tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sznwo9UIsHE
(2) Mr Karim Khan, defence counsel
Audio and Video: http://drop.io/Karim_Khan_provisional
You tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1Wz515W41M
(3) Mr Emeric Rogier, OTP Senior Analyst
Audio and Video: http://drop.io/Emeric_Rogier_provisional
You tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHLb-xQzICg
(4) Ms Paolina Massidda, Head of the Office of the Public Counsel for Victims
and legal representative in this case
Audio and Video: http://drop.io/Paulina_provisional
You tube: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNWjfC7E4js
ii. Audio and video links to the 'News from the Court' programme related to the
decision of Pre -Trial Chamber II decision on conditional release of Jean-Pierre
Bemba Gombo, International Criminal Court, 14 August 2009 (in French):
Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKmfCfDsxdo
Audio and Video: www.drop.io/BembaProvisionalReleaseDecision
B. RELATED NEWS COVERAGE
i. "SA decides not to host warlord Bemba," by Deon de Lange, The Sunday
Independent, 16 August 2009,
"South Africa has turned down a request from the International Criminal Court
(ICC) to host former Democratic Republic of Congo warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba
Gombo, pending his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The ICC's pre-trial chamber on Friday granted Bemba's application for a
… The court called on six countries - nominated by Bemba and including Belgium,
France, Germany, Italy and Portugal - to provide `informative observations on
the question of his interim release onto their territory'. They must also
explain any set of conditions they would impose on the former warlord.
Bemba's request seemed to present the South African government with a diplomatic
Former president Thabo Mbeki was a leading voice in the African Union's decision
to thwart an ICC arrest warrant issued last year for Sudanese president Omar
Al-Bashir - a move that has severely strained the court's relationship with
If South Africa were to have assisted the court in the Bemba matter, some
leaders might have interpreted the move as undermining African solidarity in the
International Relations and Co-operation spokeswoman Nomfanelo Kota on Friday
declined to speculate on the government's response, telling journalists that
`South Africa has, for now, made no arrangements to go to the ICC'.
But an authoritative government source later said the government had decided not
to host Bemba. The main reason was a concern about Bemba's security as there was
a large DRC community in South Africa.
Lorraine Smith from the International Bar Association said the court's decision
re-affirms the legal right to liberty but stressed that it does not detract from
the seriousness of the charges.
`I think it reflects the important balance the court continues to strike between
the rights of defendants and victims,' she added.
Bemba has agreed to submit to house arrest, round-the-clock police surveillance,
adhering to travel restrictions and not interfering with victims or witnesses.
He has also assured the ICC that his family would bear the costs in the host
country. However this would not include the costs involved in keeping an eye on
Brigid Inder, director of the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice which works
with victims of sexual violence, On Saturday warned that Bemba's release in
Africa would be `unnecessarily inflammatory'.
She suggested any host country should also prevent Bemba from speaking to the
media or getting involved in any political activity. She noted that he only
began co-operating with the ICC after his incarceration.
The International Coalition for the ICC, a network of 2 500 civil society groups
that support the ICC, also criticised the court's decision to set Bemba free.
[Correction: quote attributed to Bruno Gbiegba, Board Member of the CAR National
Coalition for the ICC in CICC media advisory dated 14 August 2009]It said it
came `as a shock for the victims as their torturer is to be set free'.
…South Africa, which granted Bemba safe refuge at its embassy in Kinshasa when
the fighting broke out, was scheduled to present its case on the hosting issue
in The Hague on September 14. This now seems unlikely to happen.
And in any case ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has appealed the
pre-trial chamber's decision.
`The prosecution considers that Mr Bemba, who is still physically in detention
in The Hague, should stay in prison,' he said."
ii. "Hague court agrees to free atrocity accused," by Toby Sterling (The
Scotsman), 15 August 2009,
"Former Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba should be freed from prison until
his war crimes trial begins, the International Criminal Court has ruled.
… Prosecutors yesterday tried to overturn a written ruling from judges who said
Bemba's right to freedom outweighed the risks that he might flee, obstruct court
proceedings, or commit war crimes once he is released. Chief prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo said he would appeal because Bemba `should stay in prison'.
He noted that the judges have confirmed that Mr Bemba must stand trial "to
answer the very serious charges that have been brought against him". A trial
date has not been set.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo added: "Victims and witnesses can be confident that the trial
will take place in the near future and that the court will continue to guarantee
Bemba will not be released until September at the earliest because the court
said it must determine what conditions should apply to his release, including
which country will shelter him.
Several potential hosts proposed by Bemba's defence team have already said they
will not accept him. France yesterday became the latest to do so.
Bemba was arrested in May 2008 in Belgium and transferred to the court in The
Hague, Netherlands, two months later.
… Bemba is the most senior political figure in the custody of the world's first
permanent war crimes tribunal."
iii. "Bemba Case: provision release, clarification from the ICC Registry on Luis
Moreno-Ocampo's Appeal," ("Affaire Bemba: libertÈ provisoire, prÈcision de la
greffiËre de la CPI sur l'appel de Luis Moreno-Ocampo"), Radio Okapi, 15 August
=2&k=0&r=all&sc=0&id_a=0&ar=0&br=qst (in French)
´ …Mme Silvana Arbia, ICC Registrer sheds light on the [appeal]dÈmarche
forradiookapi.net. The Chamber of Appeals will render a decision on the
arguments the Prosecutor will be submitting to the Chamber. This is normal
procedure. But today, we have the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber regarding
the interim release of Mr. Bemba…among these six States, certainly there will be
States who will cooperate with the Court in order to faciliate the
implementation of this interim release decision…. ª
Translation is informal and provided by CICC Secretariat.
See also the following articles available in French only :
a. ´ Affaire Bemba : le MLC a la foi en la justice ª, Radio Okapi, 15 August
=0&r=all&sc=0&id_a=0&ar=0&br=qst (in French)
b. ´ M. Bemba mis en libertÈ provisoire par la Cour pÈnale internationale, ª
StÈphanie Maupas (Le Monde), 15 August 2009,
c. ´ DÈroutant oui et non de libÈration provisoire de Jean-Pierre Bemba ‡ la CPI
! ª Digital Congo/Le Potential, 15 August 2009.
d. ´ La CPI ordonne la libÈration provisoire de Jean-Pierre Bemba, ª VOA News,
14 August 2009, http://www.voanews.com/french/2009-08-14-voa14.cfm
´…'Liberty is the principle ; Denying liberty is the exception' explained
Bemba's lawyer, Aime Kilolo. According to Kilolo `the Court's decision amounts
to saying: it's important to avoid a prolonged detention becoming a puntative
measure given that Mr. Bemba has not been judged for anything.ª (…)
Translation is informal and provided by CICC Secretariat.
C. FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT
Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign and European Spokesperson, Paris,
August 14, 2009,
"...[Q]Is France prepared to welcome the Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre
Bemba, whose conditional release has been ordered by the ICC?
[A]To our knowledge, several countries including France were approached to
welcome Jean-Pierre Bemba. A dialogue is under way with the International
Criminal Court and we have let them know that France is not in a position to
welcome Jean-Pierre Bemba...."
III. WOMEN'S INITIATIVES AMICUS BRIEF IN BEMBA CASE
i. "Women's Initiatives submits amicus curiae observations regarding charges for
gender-based crimes," Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice Website, 6 August
"On July 31, Women's Initiatives filed amicus curiae observations on the issue
of cumulative charging for gender-based crimes in Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre
Bemba Gombo. This submission followed the Pre-Trial Chamber's July 17 order
granting the Women's Initiatives' request for leave to file. The brief argues
that in its decision confirming the charges against Bemba, the Pre-Trial Chamber
improperly dismissed charges of torture as a crime against humanity and outrages
upon personal dignity as a war crime, on the grounds that these charges were
cumulative to the charges of rape. The Women's Initiatives is one of only five
organizations or `bodies', and the only international women's rights
organization, to be granted amicus curiae status before the ICC since the
Court's inception. …"
ii. "Amicus Curiae Observations of the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
pursuant to Rule 103 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence," 31 July 2009, Case
The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, ICC-01/05-01/08, Situation in the
Central African Republic,
iii. "Special Issue of Legal Eye on the ICC," Women's Initiatives for Gender
Justice, August 2009,
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