ICC arrest four men alleged for witness tampering in war crime trial in Congo


http://allafrica.com/download/pic/main/main/csiid/00241068:947f33a9e37684f39279392670d9a708:arc614x376:w614:us1.jpgThe International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday announced the arrest of four men for alleged witness tampering in the war crimes trial of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba.

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Bemba is the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Mouvement de libération du Congo being tried for two counts of crimes against humanity (rape and murder).

He was also charged for three counts of war crimes (rape, murder and pillaging) allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR).

According to a statement by ICCourt at the Hague, the four men were accused of corruptly influencing witnesses before the ICC and presenting evidence that they knew to be false or forged.

“It is alleged that the suspects were part of a network for the purposes of presenting false or forged documents and bribing certain persons to give false testimony in the case against Bemba, whose trial started in November 2010,’’ the statement said.

It noted that their arrests followed a warrant issued on Nov. 20 by Judge Cuno Tarfusser.

The statement, however, named the accused to include Bemba’s Lead Counsel Aime Musamba who was taken into custody by Belgian authorities, and Jean-Jacques Kabongo, a member of Bemba’s defence team and case manager, who was arrested in the Netherlands.

It said that the two other men are Fidele Wandu, a member of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Parliament and  the Deputy Secretary General of the Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo, who was taken into custody in the DRC and Narcisse Arido, a Defence witness, who was arrested by French authorities.

“On behalf of the Court, the Registrar of the ICC, Herman von Hebel, expressed his gratitude to the States’ authorities for their cooperation,” the ICC said.

It added that these are the first arrests made in relation to such charges before the Court.

Established by the Rome Statute of 1998, the ICC can try cases involving individuals charged with war crimes committed since July 2002.

The UN Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor or a State Party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC only acts when countries themselves are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute. (NAN)

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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