Press Release: 15 June 2018

Bemba et al. case: Mr Bemba on interim release in Belgium pending final decision on sentence


Today, 15 June 2018, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo was provisionally released with specific conditions on the territory of the Kingdom of Belgium. This follows the decision of Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court"), published on 12 June 2018, ordering Mr Bemba's interim release pending a final decision on his sentence in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido.

Following necessary consultations to implement the Chamber's ruling, Mr Bemba was released on the territory of the Kingdom of Belgium. The Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the ICC signed an agreement on the interim release of detainees on the Belgian territory on 10 April 2014.

The specific conditions of Mr Bemba's interim release include: to refrain from making public statements on this case, not to change address without prior notice, not to contact any witness in this case, to fully comply with all orders issued in the case, and to surrender immediately to the relevant authorities if required by the Trial Chamber.

Background: On 8 June 2018, in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo ("main case" before the ICC), the Appeals Chamber decided, by majority, to acquit Mr Bemba from the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Central African Republic. The Appeals Chamber indicated that there was no reason to continue Mr Bemba's detention on the basis of the main case and that it would be for Trial Chamber VII to decide whether Mr Bemba's continued detention was warranted in relation to his conviction for offences against the administration of justice in the Bemba et al. case. While Mr Bemba's conviction in the Bemba et al. case was confirmed in appeals, his initial sentence was reversed in appeals and remanded to the Trial Chamber for a new determination – which is still pending.

On 12 June 2018, Trial Chamber VII ordered interim release under specific conditions for Mr Bemba after holding a hearing and receiving the parties' submissions on the continued detention. Taking into account all relevant factors and the circumstances of the case as a whole, the Trial Chamber considers that the legal requirements for continued detention are not met. Specifically, and noting that Mr Bemba has served more than 80% of the maximum possible sentence, the Chamber considered it disproportionate to further detain Mr Bemba merely to ensure his appearance for sentencing.

For further information on the case, click here

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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