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Statement of the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, on the start of the witness interference trial against Jean-Pierre Bemba and the other co-accused under article 70 of the Rome Statute

​Prosecutor’s Opening Remarks at Trial | Art. 70 of the Rome Statute; Offences against the administration of Justice: English, Français

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Today marks the beginning of a trial that highlights a particular, yet crucial area of my mandate as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: contributing to the proper administration of justice of proceedings before this Court

Based on our evidence, we allege that Mr Bemba, and his four co-accused – who include members of the legal profession – have committed offences against the administration of justice through witness interference. Such systematic and concerted efforts of the co-accused to thwart the ends of justice in Mr Bemba's main trial, in which he is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, must be met with the full force of the law.

This is an important trial, and one that I hope will fulfil the rightful expectations of all victims of atrocity crimes that come before this Court in the fair and just adjudication of their causes and the integrity of the Court's proceedings.

My hope is that this trial will deter similar occurrences in other cases in the future, and thus ensure victims are not deprived of their right to see justice done through its proper and unimpeded administration.

As is our duty under the Rome Statute, my Office took careful and measured steps to collect evidence and bring this case forward. We brought this case to ensure that no-one, whatever their role or responsibilities, and especially those entrusted a role in the pursuit of justice, attempt to pervert the course of justice. Victims deserve fair and transparent justice, and to see it done untainted by such serious offences.

Source : Office of the Prosecutor