The International Criminal Court, ICC has ordered the interim conditional release of Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice-President and Congolese businessmen. The decision comes after Jean-Pierre Bemba was acquitted last week of war crimes after a decade behind bars.
He was acquitted because; the Trial Chamber considers that the legal requirements for continued detention are not met, said Judge Bertram Schmitt.
He was acquitted on appeal Friday by the ICC, which said he could not be held criminally liable for crimes committed by his troops in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. The 55 years old, Congolese politician was sentenced at first instance two years ago to 18 years in prison for murders, rapes and looting committed in the Central African Republic by his militia between October 2002 and March 2003. It is the heaviest sentence ever imposed by the International Criminal Court.
Bemba’s interim release relates to a separate case in which he was handed one-year jail sentence and fined 300,000 euros in 2017 for bribing witnesses during his main war crimes trial.
His provisional release ordered was order last Tuesday, 12th June 2018 under specific conditions;
- he must “refrain from making public statements about this case,
- he must not change his address without notice,
- Do not contact any witnesses, and
- immediately go to the competent authorities if the Trial Chamber demands,
As at now the judges are studying the conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba and the final sentence will be made public on 4th July.
Since he has already served 80% of the maximum possible sentence, the judges considered it disproportionate to continue his detention.
Jean-Pierre Bemba plans to return to Brussels to be united with his wife and five children, his lawyer Peter Haynes said.