On 27 November 2013, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Fidèle Babala Wandu, et Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo appeared before the single Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Cuno Tarfusser, at the seat of the ICC in The Hague (The Netherlands). They are suspected of offences against the administration of justice allegedly committed in connection with the case The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.
The hearing was held in the presence of the Prosecution and the Defence. Jean-Pierre Bemba was represented by his duty counsel Magali Pirard, Fidele Babala was represented by his duty counsel Paul Djunga Mudimbi, and Aimé Kilolo was represented by his duty counsel Jean-Pierre Kilenda Kakengi Basila, as well as Xavier-Jean Keїta of the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence, for the purpose of the first appearance.
The single Judge verified the identity of the suspects and ensured that they were clearly informed of the charges brought against them and of their rights under the Rome Statute of the ICC. The single Judge set a calendar for expeditious proceedings leading to the confirmation of charges decision.
With a confirmation of charges decision, Judges determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed each of the crimes charged. If the charges are confirmed, the Pre-Trial Chamber commits the case for trial before a Trial Chamber, which will conduct the subsequent phase of the proceedings: the trial.
The decision on the confirmation of the charges will be made in writing, without holding a hearing, due to the nature of the charges in the case. Prior to the decision, a number of status conferences will be held, in particular to ensure the proper disclosure of evidence to the Defence.
Background: On 20 November 2013, Judge Cuno Tarfusser issued a warrant of arrest for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, his lead Counsel Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo (a member of Mr Bemba’s Defence team and case manager), Fidèle Babala Wandu (a member of the DRC Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of theMouvement pour la Libération du Congo), and Narcisse Arido (a Defence witness) for offences against the administration of justice allegedly committed in connection with the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.
On 23 and 24 November 2013, the Belgian authorities arrested Aimé Kilolo Musamba, the Dutch authorities arrested Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, the French authorities arrested Narcisse Arido, and the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) arrested Fidèle Babala Wandu, in response to requests for arrest and surrender from the ICC.
Fidèle Babala Wandu and Aimé Kilolo Musamba were transferred to the ICC Detention centre on 25 November 2013. Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo and Narcisse Arido will be surrendered to the Court only upon completion of the relevant national proceedings in The Netherlands and in France.
For photos of the initial appearance hearing, click here.
Audio and video of the hearing:
YouTube (for viewing):
Video (MPEG-4) for download:
http://www.fileserver.icc-cpi.info/video/131127_initial_defence.mp4 (287.6 MB)
Audio (MPEG-3) for download:
http://www.fileserver.icc-cpi.info/audio/131127_initial_defence.mp3 (37 MB)
For further information, please contact Sonia Robla, Chief of Public Information Section, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-8089 or 31 (0)6 46448726 or by e-mail at: [email protected]
You can also follow the Court’s activities on YouTube and Twitter.