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CAR: Bemba case; FIDH latest report; other related articles and opinions
15 Aug 2008
Dear all,

Find below information related to the International Criminal Court's investigation in the Central African Republic.

In this message you will find news articles and opinions on the case against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, including pieces on the alleged seizure of his property (I), FIDH latest report on the Bemba case (II), and other related articles (III).

Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.

Best regards,

CICC Communications
[email protected]

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NB: The translations below are unofficial translations provided by the CICC Secretariat as a service to our members, and should not be used for quoting in any official documents.

I. BEMBA CASE: ARTICLES AND OPINIONS

i. "Bemba assets impounded", EuroWeekly News, 31 July 2008, http://www.euroweeklynews.com/news/9761.html

"... Portuguese authorities have impounded the assets of alleged war criminal Jean-Pierre Bemba at the behest of the International Criminal Court.
Assets of the former Congolese leader included a yacht and a private aircraft that were in the Algarve.

Bemba was arrested in Brussels in May when he left the Quinta do Lago villa where he was staying to return to his home country."

ii. "The ICC will not stop at Bemba," Le Confident, 1 August 2008, http://www.africatime.com/Centrafrique/index.asp (French)

"...This international justice concerns the Central African Republic since on 24 May 2008, Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice-president of the DRC whose troops supported the Patassé regime from October 2002 to March 2003, was arrested in a fairly spectacular and unexpected manner in Brussels, Belgium, before being transferred to the headquarters of the ICC in The Hague (The Netherlands). Since then, CAR has been in the sights of international justice, which has led to surprising repercussions and jolts. Different schemes have been elucidated, and each has its own commentaries. The partisans of Jean-Pierre Bemba denounce the political plot against their leader while the human rights defenders applaud [the arrest].

... The Bemba affair before the ICC will not stop at one arrest. During the coming days, we must anticipate the collateral effects of unforeseen consequences. Tongues are wagging and the situation is becoming complicated for those who believed themselves spared..."

III. "Bemba case: similar risks for his comrades in arms?" by Jeff Kalambaie (Digital Congo), 10 July 2008, http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/52385 (French)

"...Charged with "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" allegedly perpetrated in 2002 and 2003 in Bangui (Central African Republic), Jean-Pierre Bemba has from now on, in front of his judges, the possibility of proving his innocence.

As a drowning person who always tries to cling even to a dead leaf on the open sea, would Bemba let [the Court] only condemn himself? It seems difficult to imagine such a possibility - catastrophe. Also, this "big fish" as Colette Braeckman called him in last Friday's edition of [Belgian Newspaper] 'Le Soir', will try, according to our colleague, to splash 'its friends and accomplices from the past...' ..."

iv. "Bemba case: The Prosecutor of the ICC is pressured by Abdoulaye Wade", Le Palmarès, 13 August 2008, http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/52965 (French)

"Last Monday, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, visited Dakar in order to meet Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and to present to him the list of the judicial activities of his office.

... Abdoulaye Wade is among those African heads of state that protested against the arrest of Jean-Pierre Bemba.

...The Prosecutor said that Preside Wade and his counterparts in other African states have an immense responsibility regarding Darfur. He recognized that they share the same objective, that of protecting victims and bringing an end to impunity and crimes..."

See also:

v. "Bemba's assets seized in Portugal at ICC request", Grioo, 24 July 2008, http://www.grioo.com/ar,les_biens_de_bemba_saisis_au_portugal_a_la_demande_de_la_cpi,14545.html (French)

vi. "The ICC captures Bemba", Le Phare, 23 juillet 2008, http://www.direct.cd/liveget.php?newsid=544 (French)

vii. "Seizure of Jean-Pierre Bemba's assets: war booty or Daddy's goods?" by Issa K. Barry, Le Faso, 24 July 2008, http://www.lefaso.net/spip.php?article28046&rubrique7 (French)

viii. "International Criminal Court: Jean-Paul Ngoupande responds to Ouraga Obou », by Fraternité Matin (Abidjan.net), 8 August 2008, http://news.abidjan.net/article/index.asp?n=300080 (French)

II. FIDH REPORT

i. "Report of the FIDH Legal Action Group (LAG), FIDH and the situation in the Central African Republic before the International Criminal Court: The case of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo," FIDH, 3 July 2008, http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/CPIaffbemba502ang2008.pdf

(Abstracts)

"... Since 2002, FIDH has organized four international factfinding missions to CAR, in cooperation with its affiliated organisations, the Central African League of Human Rights (Ligue Centrafricaine des droits de l'Homme - LCDH) and the Organisation for the Compassion and Development of Families in Distress (Organisation pour la compassion et le développement des familles en détresse - OCODEFAD). ...

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Jean-Pierre Bemba for crimes against humanity and war crimes, on the basis of information received by the Prosecutor and information gathered by members of his office and his own investigators. During its various missions on the ground, FIDH has also collected numerous testimonies of victims of crimes committed by the men of the Armée de Libération du Congo, who had been easily recognised by their language and clothes. The head of these mercenaries was Jean-Pierre Bemba. He had been paid by President Ange-Félix Patassé and he communicated with his troops and informed himself about the development of the hostilities. He knew that serious crimes were being committed by his men and did nothing to stop them. In producing this arrest warrant, the ICC has complied with its statute which provides for prosecution of individuals regardless of their official capacity, including for the most serious crimes committed by their subordinates. This decision is remarkable considering Jean-Pierre Bemba's high positions as former Vice President of the DRC and candidate in the 2006 presidential elections, as well as his influence in the region. ..."

III. RELATED ARTICLES

i. "Sensitivity workshop for judicial actors on violence against women launched in Bangui," by J. Soupou (Agence Centrafrique Presse), 7 August 2008, http://www.africatime.com/Centrafrique/index.asp (French)

"The work of a sensitivity workshop for magistrates, registrars, lawyers and police officers on practices negatively impacting the health of women and children and on 'gender'-based violence began on Wednesday, 6 August in Bangui...

... It also endeavored to analyze critically the jurisprudence currently in effect, and to examine the perspectives of judicial intervention and their implementation, as well as to reflect on strategies to promote the protection of women and of girls against these practices...

During three days, the participants will be exposed to such themes as the general problem of the negative impact of traditional practices, female circumcision and its health consequences, the psychosocial consequences of violence against women and children, and the judicial consequences of such violence..."

ii. "Proposed amnesty law in Central African Republic : when victims are again slighted by the Central African government," FIDH, 1 August 2008, http://www.fidh.org/spip.php?article5763 (French)

"Today, Friday, 1 August 2008, the National Assembly of the Central African Republic will examine during an extraordinary session three amnesty laws proposed by the Central African government. FIDH and its member organization in CAR, the Central African League for Human Rights (LCDH) ask the deputies to exclude, pursuant to international law and the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), all amnesties for perpetrators of international crimes.

The proposed laws propose to provide amnesty to 1) perpetrators of infractions linked to the events leading to the coup d'état against General Bozizé; 2) infractions committed by persons linked to the Central African armed forces, in particular, the presidential guards since General Bozizé's assumption of power on 15 March 2003; 3) infractions amounting to assaults on the national security and security of the state committed by rebel troops since 15 March 2008..."

See also:

iii. "Rebel groups and opposition quit talks in CAR," afrol News, 5 August 2008, http://www.afrol.com/articles/30148

iv. "Central African Republic: APRD rebels pull out of peace process," Agence France Presse, 1 August 2008, http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iHSlTZ3U9tn7FeUvBLZBlsy01FtQ (French)

v. "Central African Republic: Differences of opinion on amnesty undermine dialog," by Pierre Emangongo (Le Potentiel), 5 August 2008, http://fr.allafrica.com/stories/200808050478.html (French)

vi. "Unanimous opposition to the law proposing national division," by Franck Saragba (Centrafrique Presse), 4 August 2008, http://www.centrafrique-presse.com/ (French)

vii. "Central African Republic: UN envoy voices deep concern over recent violence," UN News Centre, 13 August 2008, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=27697&Cr=central&Cr1=african


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CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:

The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization.

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