ICC convicts Congolese ex-vice president Bemba of war crimes

The International Criminal Court on Monday found former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Central African Republic (CAR).

Bemba, 53, was the supreme commander of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) rebel forces during a coup in neighboring CAR in 2002-03.

Judges in The Hague-based court found him guilty of killings, mass rape and looting in CAR. Sentencing will be set at a later date.

Bemba was arrested in Belgium in 2008 and his trial opened at the ICC in November 2010 when he pleaded not guilty.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein welcomed the judgment, saying it sends a strong message around the world that "international justice will eventually prevail."

"I hope that this judgment will act as a powerful deterrent against abuse and grave violations of human rights in the CAR and worldwide," he said.

Bemba is said to be one the wealthiest men in Congo with radio, aviation and private television businesses.

His father, Jeannot Bemba Saolona, was a businessman who was successful under former Zairian president Mobutu Sese Seko.

Last update: Mon, 21/03/2016 - 21:48
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