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Bemba Trial: Members Statements and Interviews; ICC Releases; Related News Coverage
03 Dec 2010
Please find below the latest information related to the trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, which opened on 22 November 2010 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. This is the ICC's third trial. Jean-Pierre Bemba is charged with command responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002-2003.
This message includes Coalition members media statements and interviews (I), latest ICC releases (II), and related news coverage (III).
Please note that the Bemba trial is broadcasted (with a 30-minute delay) on the Court's website at: http://livestream.xs4all.nl/icc1.asx . The Court's hearing schedule is available at: http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Situations+and+Cases/Hearing+Schedule/
Please also take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the Coalition 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.
I. COALITION MEMBER STATEMENTS AND INTERVIEWS
A. MEDIA STATEMENT
1. "Statement by the Women's Initiatives at the opening of the Trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo", Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, 22 November 2010, http://www.iccwomen.org/documents/Bemba_Opening_Statement.pdf.pdf
"The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo breaks new ground for the ICC, with evidence of sexual violence and charges for gender based crimes comprising a significant part of the Prosecution's case....
This is also the first ICC trial to charge an accused with command responsibility for acts of rape committed by members of the militia group over which he exercised control. In this case, Mr Bemba is accused of failing to prevent, repress and punish crimes including widespread acts of rape, committed by the MLC, of which the accused was the President and Commander-in-Chief at the time the incidents are alleged to have occurred....
The Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice visited CAR in 2006 where we met with many women's rights organisations who described the brutality of the violence committed in the 2002-2003 period....We interviewed women victims/ survivors of sexual violence committed by 'Bemba's men' and the repercussions they, and others, faced. Many were rejected by their families, ostracised by their communities, contracted HIV, gave birth to children as a result of rape and continue to experience medical and psychological complications and high levels of violence-related trauma.
Rape and other forms of sexual violence committed in CAR are not uncommon in armed conflicts, they are a familiar occurrence in each of the conflict situations under investigation by the ICC. What is unusual about the CAR situation, is the quantity of material available documenting these crimes. Local women's rights organisations and victims/survivor groups documented hundreds of incidents of rape. This provided the ICC with a significant volume of information to consider and follow up on during their investigations.
In the request for Bemba's arrest warrant, the Prosecution sought a broad range of charges of gender-based crimes. Charges were originally sought for rape as a crime against humanity and war crime; rape as torture as a crime against humanity and war crime; outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime; other forms of sexual violence as a war crime and crime against humanity; murder; and pillaging.
Unfortunately, in the Bemba case we have seen a narrowing of the charges by the Pre Trial Chamber at both the Arrest Warrant and Confirmation of Charges stages....
We were also disappointed by the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II to send Mr Bemba to trial facing only charges of rape, and declining to have Mr Bemba tried on charges of rape as torture and outrages upon personal dignity....
In July 2009 the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice requested and was granted leave to prepare an amicus curiae brief for the Judges on the dismissal of charges for gender based crimes. We are the first and to date only international women's human rights organisation to have been recognised with amicus curiae status....
In our view, by dismissing charges of rape as torture, the Chamber overlooked the purpose of the rapes committed by Jean-Pierre Bemba's militia group and it overlooked the extent of the pain and suffering experienced by victims in this case who were raped as well as tortured. The decision also failed to take into account the torture experienced by family members who were forced to watch their loved ones being raped in front of them....
We hope that during the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba, the Judges will allow the witnesses for sexual violence to testify about their experience of rape in its totality, which will inevitably include evidence about the torture, suffering and humiliation they endured...."
B. MEMBERS INTERVIEWS
1. "Bemba on trial at The Hague," Al-Jazeera, Inside story, 22 November 2010, http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insidestory/2010/11/2010112312849592276.html
Programme featuring Mariana Pena, Liaison Officer to the ICC, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
2. "Former DR Congo leader faces trial, Al-Jazeera, News Update, 22 November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgL1Z2LNmPk&p=62959FE629C106FA
Interview featuring Brigid Inder, Executive Director, Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice
3. "DRC: Hague trial, the end of impunity? " (RD Congo : Procès de la Haye, la fin de l'impunité ?) France 24, 23 November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWDMtFZoZMg [In French]
Interview featuring Florent Geel, Africa Desk Director, FIDH
II. ICC STATEMENTS
Note: These documents have been produced by the ICC. The CICC Secretariat distributes them as part of its mandate to keep member organizations and individuals informed about developments related to the ICC. The documents do not reflect the views of the CICC as a whole or its individual members.
1. "Central African Republic: The ICC organises a screening in Bangui of the first two days of the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo", ICC Press Release , 26 November 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press and media/press releases/central african republic_ the icc organises a screening in bangui of the first two days of the trial
"The Field Outreach Unit of the International Criminal Court (ICC) screened the first two days of the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. The two-day viewing was held in the large hall of the CPJ (Protestant Youth Centre) in a working-class neighbourhood in the north of the capital.
The screening for the general public was publicised by announcements in the CAR media....The broadcast was streamed from the ICC website with a 30-minute delay.
Over 1450 visitors were registered at the CPJ during the two days (738 on the first day and 721 on the second). Many journalists also attended... In addition, many victims' organisations, women's associations and human rights advocates took up the Outreach Unit's invitation to attend the event.
Despite some technical issues during the first hour of the trial, on 22 November 2010, the men and women of the CAR were able to follow the opening statements of the Office of the Prosecutor, the legal representatives of the victims, the Office of Public Counsel for Victims and the Defence team. On 23 November, the participants watched in deafening silence the first part of the testimony by the first witness called by the Office of the Prosecutor.
This two-day screening was a unique opportunity for the people of Bangui and the surrounding areas to familiarise themselves with the judicial proceedings before the International Criminal Court. The audience was particularly interested in the principles governing a fair trial and gained a better understanding of the protective measures available to Court witnesses.
Having watched all of the screenings over the two days, many participants asked the Outreach Unit to continue the broadcasts so that they could follow the hearings over subsequent days. The Outreach Unit wrapped up the event by presenting the communication strategy it had designed so that the people of the CAR can continue to follow the Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo trial..."
2. "Democratic Republic of the Congo: The ICC organised screenings of the first two days of the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo in Bunia and in Kinshasa", ICC Press Release, 26 November 2010, http://www.icc-cpi.int/menus/icc/press and media/press releases/democratic republic of the congo_ the icc organised screenings of the first two days of the trial of
"To coincide with the commencement of the trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo on 22 November, 2010, the Outreach Unit of the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched a campaign in Kinshasa and Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to provide the Congolese public with information about the trial.
Around 60 journalists followed the press conference, held at the seat of the Court in The Hague, via videoconference from the ICC office in Kinshasa. The journalists were able to directly put questions to the parties and participants in the trial of Mr Bemba.
Furthermore, the national TV station (RTNC) broadcast the first two days of the trial live, which was relayed to other Congolese TV channels, allowing a large majority of the Congolese to follow the hearing. At the same time in Bunia, Ituri province, around 80 people, including journalists as well as religious and local leaders who were invited by the outreach team, also gathered to watch the broadcast....
Weekly audiovisual summaries of the trial will continue to be broadcast on Congolese media as well as used during information meetings held in Kinshasa and in other regions of the country, on a regular basis."
III. RELATED MEDIA COVERAGE
A. AUDIOVISUAL RESOURCES
1. "Bemba case : participation of victims," ("Affaire Bemba : participation des victimes"), ICC programme "Autour de la salle d'audience", November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrvnP2sIIt4&feature=related
Programme featuring victims' representative Me Marie Edith Douzima Lawson and ICC-OPCV Head Me Paolina Massidda
2. "Congolese Rebel Leader Jean-Pierre Bemba on trial at the ICC", IWPR/BBC, 24 November 2010, http://iwpr.net/report-news/international-justiceicc-octnov-â€˜10
3. "The Trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba" ["Le procès de Jean-Pierre Bemba"], by Ghislaine Dupont, RFI, 28 November 2010, http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20101128-le-proces-jean-pierre-bemba [French]
4. "The ICC puts congolese war leader on trial," (La Cour pénale internationale juge un chef de guerre congolais), BFMTV, 22 November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2Od68_Eg0c&feature=related [French]
4. "Bemba Goes on Trial For War Crimes," NDTV, 22 November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKQinRNakLY&feature=fvsr
5. "War crimes trial of DR Congo's Bemba under way," AFP, 22 November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zumvrePiDP0&feature=related
6. "War Crimes Trial for Congo's Former VP Opens at The Hague," VOA, 22 November 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2Od68_Eg0c&feature=related
B. RELATED NEWS AND OPINIONS
1. "International Criminal Court Takes on Gender Crimes", by Kelly Askin, Open Society Blog, http://blog.soros.org/2010/11/international-criminal-court-takes-on-gender-crimes/
2. "New ICC Trial Opens: The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo", The Global Herald, 22 November 2010, http://theglobalherald.com/new-icc-trial-opens-the-prosecutor-v-jean-pierre-bemba-gombo/7341/
3. "Jean-Pierre Bemba denies ICC war crimes charges", by Nangayi Guyson, AP, 23 November 2010, http://www.shout-africa.com/news/drc-jean-pierre-bemba-denies-icc-war-crimes-charges/
4. "Congo Leader Faces Trial for Crimes Using Entire Army as a Weapon to Rape", News Blaze, 23 November 2010, http://newsblaze.com/story/20101123083859zzzz.nb/topstory.html
5. "Bemba Supporters Say War Crimes Trial is Political", by Scott Stearns, VOA News, 23 November 2010, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Bemba-Supporters-Say-War-Crimes-Trial-is-Political-110132474.html
6. "ICC - Bemba Trial Begins: Can Past Atrocities Ever be Healed?", by Geraldine Coughlan, International Criminal Law Bureau, 23 November 2010, http://www.internationallawbureau.com/blog/?p=2000
7. "ICC: Trial Opens for Congo's Ex-Vice President", TTKN News, 24 November 2010, http://www.ttkn.com/lifestyle-leisure/icc-trial-opens-for-congoâ€™s-ex-vice-president-6155.html
8. "Jean-Pierre Bemba before the ICC" ["Jean-Pierre Bemba devant la CPI"], L'humanité, 23 November 2010, http://www.humanite.fr/22_11_2010-jean-pierre-bemba-devant-la-cpi-458313 [French]
9. "Jean-Pierre Bemba or archetype of the African political entrepreneur in the 1990s" ["Jean-Pierre Bemba ou l'archétype de l'entrepreneur politique africain des années 1990"], Le Monde, 23 November 2010, http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2010/11/23/jean-pierre-bemba-ou-l-archetype-de-l-entrepreneur-politique-africain-des-annees-1990_1443762_3212.html [French]
10. "Five Charges brought against Bemba in The Hague" ["Cinq chefs d'inculpation retenus contre Jean-Pierre Bemba à la Haye"], Digital Congo, 23 November 2010, http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/71887 [French]
11. "CAR: Jean-Pierre Bemba's men before the ICC" ["Centrafrique: les hommes de Jean-Pierre Bemba devant la Cour pénale internationale"], AFP/TV5, 23 November 2010, http://www.tv5.org/cms/chaine-francophone/info/p-1910-Afrique.htm?rub=6 [French]
12. "ICC accuses Bemba of having 'knowingly allowed' hundreds of rapes" ["La CPI accuse Bemba d'avoir 'permis sciemment' des centaines de viols"], L'expression, 24 November 2010, http://www.lexpressiondz.com/article/5/2010-11-24/83053.html [French]
13. "In the Central African Republic, seriousness and tears at the retransmission of the Bemba trial" ["En Centrafrique, gravité et larmes à la retransmission du procès de Bemba"], Le jour guinée, 24 November 2010, http://lejourguinee.com/dev/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3767:communiquele-collectif-serenet-dalanda-a-co&catid=24&Itemid=27 [French]
14. "ICC takes sex crimes seriously in Bemba trial", by Emily Loewen, Women's Views on News, 25 November 2010, http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/wvon/2010/11/icc-takes-sex-crimes-seriously-in-bemba-trial/
15. "Bemba gets his day in court", The Independent/BBC, 25 November 2010, http://www.theindependent.co.zw/international/28873-bemba-gets-his-day-in-court.htm l
16. "Congolese Still Struggle to Understand ICC", by Heritier Maila, Reuters/IWPR, 26 November 2010, http://iwpr.net/report-news/congolese-still-struggle-understand-icc
17. "International Criminal Court: what legitimacy, what credibility?" ["Cour Pénale Internationale : quelle légitimité, quelle crédibilité ?"], Le Potentiel, 23 November 2010, http://www.lepotentiel.com/afficher_article.php?id_article=103720&id_edition=6079 [French]
18. "J.P. Bemba Trial: Moreno's Double Standards" ["Procès J.P. Bemba : le double langage de Moreno"], Le Potentiel, 23 November 2010, http://www.lepotentiel.com/afficher_article.php?id_article=103721&id_edition=6079 [French]
19. "Bemba Trial Marks Crucial Point in International Criminal Court's History", by Mary Conroy, Center for Internationall Finance and Development, University of Iowa College of Law, 27 November 2010, http://uicifd.blogspot.com/2010/11/bemba-trial-marks-crucial-point-in.html
20. "The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba in The Hague" ["Le procès Jean-Pierre Bemba à La Haye"], Afrique Actu, 28 November 2010, http://afriqueactu.net/15385/afrique/rdc/le-proces-jean-pierre-bemba-a-la-haye [French]
21. "What the Bemba Trial Means to Victims", by Sisonke Msimang, Bemba Trial Website, 29 November 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/what-the-bemba-trial-means-to-victims/
22. "Rape as a weapon of war, debate in the Bemba trial" ["Le viol comme arme de guerre, débat au procès de Bemba"], Radio Ndeke Luka, 29 November 2010, http://www.radiondekeluka.org/accueil/item/2495-le-viol-comme-arme-de-guerre-débat-au-procès-de-bemba [French]
23. "Bemba's soldiers raped and killed in the Central African Republic", RNW, 1 December 2010, http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/bembaâ€™s-soldiers-raped-and-killed-central-african-republic
24. "Bemba in The Hague: the challenges of a trial" ["Bemba à la Haye: les enjeux d'un process"], Jeune Afrique, 30 November 2010, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/ARTJAJA2602p030-032.xml1/cpi-proces-jean-pierre-bemba-justice-internationalebemba-a-la-haye-les-enjeux-d-un-proces.html [French]
25. "Bemba before the ICC: three records for one trial" ["Bemba devant la CPI : trois registres pour un process"], Jeune Afrique, 23 November 2010, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/ARTJAWEB20101123075436/cpi-defense-justice-meurtrebemba-devant-la-cpi-trois-registres-pour-un-proces.html [French]
26. "Jean-Pierre Bemba in a historic trial at the ICC" ["Jean-Pierre Bemba dans un procès historique à la CPI"], Afrique Actu, 23 November 2010, http://afriqueactu.net/15035/afrique/rdc/jean-pierre-bemba-dans-un-proces-historique-a-la-cpi [French]
27. "Witness recalls rapes, killings in Bemba ICC trial", by Aaron Gray-Block, Reuters, 23 November 2010, http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE6AM65520101123
28. "Witness at war crimes trial weeps over girl's rape", by Mike Corder, AP/The Washington Post, 23 November 2010, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/23/AR2010112304340.html
29. "Witness in the J-P Bemba trial describes rapes and Killings" ["Un témoin au procès de J-P Bemba décrit des viols et des tueries"], L'express, 23 November 2010, http://www.lexpress.fr/actualites/2/un-temoin-au-proces-de-j-p-bemba-decrit-des-viols-et-des-tueries_939508.html [French]
30. "Rapes in CAR: first witness recounts the arrival of Jean-Pierre Bemba's men" ["Viols en Centrafrique: le 1er témoin raconte l'arrivée des hommes de Jean-Pierre Bemba"], AFP/ Le Parisien, 23 November 2010, http://www.leparisien.fr/flash-actualite-monde/viols-en-centrafrique-le-1er-temoin-raconte-l-arrivee-des-hommes-de-jean-pierre-bemba-23-11-2010-1162616.php [French]
31. "Trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba: witness recounts the crimes of the "banyamulenge" ["Procès de Jean-Pierre Bemba : un témoin raconte les crimes des 'banyamulenge'"], RFI, 23 November 2010, http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20101123-proces-jean-pierre-bemba-temoin-raconte-crimes-banyamulenge [French]
32. "Second day of the Bemba Trial: the words of witnesses" ["Deuxième jour du procès de JP Bemba : la parole aux témoins"], Radio Ndeke Luka, 23 November 2010, http://www.radiondekeluka.org/accueil/item/2439-deuxiÃ¨me-jour-du-procÃ¨s-de-jp-bemba--la-parole-aux-tÃ©moins [French]
33. "First witness in Bemba trial says troops raped young girl", AFP/RIFA Media, 24 November 2010, http://www.rifamedia.com/first-witness-in-bemba-trial-says-troops-raped-young-girl-afp/4700/
34. "Witness Recounts Atrocities Committed by Bemba's Soldiers", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 24 November 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/witness-recounts-atrocities-committed-by-bembaâ€™s-soldiers/
35. "Witness Tells Court President Patassé Asked Bemba for Troops", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 24 November 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/witness-tells-court-president-patasse-asked-bemba-for-troops/
36. "Testimony by the first witness in the Bemba trial: Outbreaks of violence, pillaging and terror by the MLC mem in Bangui" ["Confirmation par le premier témoin au Procès Bemba : des débordements, pillages et terreur des hommes du Mlc à Bangui"], Digital Congo, 24 November 2010, http://www.digitalcongo.net/article/71930 [French]
37. "Bemba Trial, first statements in the defense of victims" ["Procès Bemba, premières déclarations de la défense des victims"], Radio Ndeke Luka, 24 November 2010, http://www.radiondekeluka.org/accueil/item/2458-procÃ¨s-bemba-premiÃ¨res-dÃ©clarations-de-la-dÃ©fense-des-victimes [French]
38. "Bemba Trial: Witness 38, Lingala and Rubber Boots" ["Procès Bemba : le témoin 38, le lingala et les bottes en caoutchouc"], by Marianne Meunier, Jeune Afrique, 24 November 2010, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/ARTJAWEB20101124103458/proces-bemba-le-temoin-38-le-lingala-et-les-bottes-en-caoutchouc.html [French]
39. "Witness: Only Bemba's Soldiers Raped", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 25 November 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/witness-only-bembaâ€™s-soldiers-raped/
40. "First Witness In Long-Awaited Trial Recalls Murders And Rapes Committed By Bemba's Troops", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 26 November 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/first-witness-in-long-awaited-trial-recalls-murders-and-rapes-committed-by-bembaâ€™s-troops/
41. "Prosecution Calls upon Its First Witness in Bemba's Case", Hirondelle News Agency, 26 November 2010, http://www.hirondellenews.com/content/view/13876/564/
42. "Bemba Trial Opens With Harrowing Testimony", by Anjana Sundaram, IWPR, 26 November 2010, http://iwpr.net/report-news/bemba-trial-opens-harrowing-testimony
43. "Landmark Bemba trial hears first evidence", Hague Justice Portal, 27 November 2010, http://www.haguejusticeportal.net/eCache/DEF/12/305.TGFuZz1FTg.html
44. "Witness Concedes Government Troops Also Committed Atrocities", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 26 November 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/witness-concedes-government-troops-also-committed-atrocities/
45. "Bemba Trial: Memory gaps for 'Witness 38'" ["Procès Bemba : des trous de mémoire chez le 'Témoin 38'"], Le Phare, 26 November 2010, http://www.lephareonline.net/lephare/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2808:proces-bemba-des-trous-de-memoire-chez-le-ltemoin-38r&catid=44:rokstories&Itemid=106 French]
46. "Witness: Bemba's Soldiers Raped Me, Stole Our Goats, Shot Our Dog", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 1 December 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/witness-bembaâ€™s-soldiers-raped-me-stole-our-goats-shot-our-dog/
47. "Expert Describes Trauma Among Central African Rape Victims", by Wakabi Wairagala, Bemba Trial Website, 1 December 2010, http://www.bembatrial.org/2010/11/expert-describes-trauma-among-central-african-rape-victims/
48. " Bemba Trial: First Rape Victim recounts her ordeal" ["Procès Bemba : la première victime de viol raconte son calvaire"], Jeune Afrique, 1 December 2010, http://www.jeuneafrique.com/Article/ARTJAWEB20101201091315/cpi-proces-jean-pierre-bemba-luis-moreno-ocampoproces-bemba-la-premiere-victime-de-viol-raconte-son-calvaire.html [French]
49. "Bemba Trial: first rape victim testifies" ["Procès Jean Pierre Bemba: une première victime de viol témoigne"], Radio Okapi, 1 December 2010, http://radiookapi.net/justice/2010/12/01/proces-jean-pierre-bemba-une-premiere-victime-de-viol-temoigne/ [French]
50. "ICC: first rape victim testifies in the Jean-Pierre Bemba trial" ["CPI : une première victime de viol témoigne au procès de Jean-Pierre Bemba"], AFP, 30 November 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gPwfvXUOPQ77qeQ5JnIGVVWzrmvw?docId=CNG.a279b86d53f0e008683f7ecdd8cffe32.8b1 [French]
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. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.
Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC P.O. box 19519 2500 CM the Hague The Netherlands