On Monday 22nd November, the International Criminal Court opened the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who stands accused of war crimes allegedly committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
An ICC statement said:
The accused is allegedly criminally responsible, as a person effectively acting as military commander within the meaning of article 28(a) of the Rome Statute, for two crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three war crimes (murder, rape and pillaging), allegedly committed in the territory of the Central African Republic during the period from approximately 26 October, 2002 to 15 March, 2003.
After his arrest by the Belgian authorities in accordance with a warrant of arrest issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC, he was transferred to the Court on 3 July, 2008. He is currently being detained at the ICC Detention Centre in The Hague.
His trial will be held before Trial Chamber III, composed of Judge Sylvia Steiner (Brazil), Presiding, Judge Joyce Aluoch (Kenya) and Judge Kuniko Ozaki (Japan). These independent magistrates will ensure that the trial is fair and expeditious and is conducted with full respect for the rights of the defence, the equality of arms and the principle of adversarial debate, having further due regard for the protection of victims and witnesses.
The trial of Mr. Bemba is expected to take several months. At the end of the hearings, the judges of Trial Chamber III will give their decision within a “reasonable period of time”. This decision will be pronounced in public: it will acquit or condemn the accused. The various parties to the trial will, if need be, be able to appeal the decision before the Appeals Chamber of the Court.
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is the leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and has served as a politician in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was one of four vice-presidents in the transitional government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 17 July 2003 to December 2006. He received the second highest number of votes in the 2006 presidential election. In January 2007 he was elected to the Senate. Mr Bemba has a significant number of supporters in the DRC, especially in the Western portion of the country.
In This Story: Brazil
Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas, as well as the most populous Roman Catholic-majority country.
Its Amazon basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. Brazil is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country.
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In This Story: Central African Republic
The Central African Republic, or Centrafrique, is a landlocked country in Central Africa.
It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west. The CAR covers a land area of about 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 sq mi) and had an estimated population of around 4.7 million as of 2018.
As of 2020, the CAR is the scene of a civil war, ongoing since 2012.
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In This Story: Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DROC, or simply either Congo or the Congo, and historically Zaire, is a country in Central Africa. The capital is Kinshasa.
With a population of over 101 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most-populous officially Francophone country in the world.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is extremely rich in natural resources but has suffered from political instability. As of 2018, around 600,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries from conflicts in the centre and east of the DRC. Two million children risk starvation, and the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people.
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The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICC is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. It is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals.
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Japan is divided into 47 administrative prefectures and eight traditional regions. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with more than 37.4 million residents.
Japan is a great power and a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1956), the OECD, and the G7. Japan is a leader in the automotive and electronics industries.