DR Congo politician guilty of offences against administration of justice:ICC

THE HAGUE, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) politician Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo and four of his aides were found guilty of various offences against the administration of justice, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced on Wednesday.

Bemba and his men were convicted of having jointly committed the offences of corruptly influencing 14 defense witnesses, and presenting their false evidence to the court, said the verdict.

All five pleaded not guilty. According to the Rome Statute, the judges may impose a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years and/or a fine. The penalties will be pronounced later.

On June 21, Bemba had been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment by the ICC for crimes committed during the Second Congo War. Bemba is appealing this sentence.

Those crimes were committed in Congo's neighboring country Central African Republic between Oct. 26, 2002 and March 15, 2003 by a contingent of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo troops. According to the ICC, Bemba was a military commander with effective authority and control over the forces that committed the crimes.

The rebel group Bemba led turned into a political party. Bemba was one of the four vice-presidents in the transitional government of the DRC from July 2003 to December 2006.

Bemba was arrested by the Belgian authorities on May 24, 2008, pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant, and surrendered to the ICC on June 3, 2008.

[ Editor: meng ]


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