Statement: 21 March 2016 |

Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, regarding the conviction of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba: “This case has highlighted the critical need to eradicate sexual and gender-based crimes as weapons in conflict”

Today's conviction of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba for his failure to prevent and punish troops under his authority and control for their rapes, murders, and pillaging marks a crucial moment in the long search for justice for the victims of the 2002-2003 events in the Central African Republic ("CAR"). 

Since this trial began, our resolve has been unshaken and our purpose clear: we aimed to establish the truth through our independent and impartial investigation and prosecution to hold accountable the most responsible person for the serious crimes, including sexual and gender-based crimes, committed against defenceless men, women, and children in the CAR.  We have achieved our purpose. Justice for the victims of the CAR has been our primary and sole objective in this case.

The Prosecution called 40 witnesses and submitted hundreds of pieces of documentary evidence about the horrific crimes committed by Mr Bemba's men during their five- months intervention and  campaign of terror, as well as Mr Bemba's continuing authority and control over his Mouvement de Libération du Congo ("MLC") troops in the CAR. In locations under their control, Mr Bemba's men systematically pillaged the neighbourhoods and raped thousands of women throughout the country. They also murdered civilians who resisted rape and pillaging. The record of this case contains more than 5,000 victims.

This Decision reflects the considered assessment of three independent judges who weighed all the evidence presented by the Prosecution and the Defence, as well as the evidence and views expressed by the victims participating in the proceedings through their legal representatives.  At the end of a thorough and impartial judicial process, the Judges found that the crimes charged by the Prosecution had been committed by MLC troops and that Mr Bemba is guilty beyond reasonable doubt for those crimes.

Today's Decision means that Mr Bemba failed, as a commander and leader of the MLC troops, to ensure those under his authority and control did not commit atrocities and were punished if they did so. Mr Bemba did not merely send his soldiers to militarily support the then Central African president; he did not just conduct a military campaign engaging other military forces. What he did was to release his armed men into the civilian populations in the Central African Republic where they engaged in a horrific campaign of pillage, rape and murder.

While the reality of the crimes is appalling, the significance of this Decision is to be celebrated.  What this Decision affirms is that commanders are responsible for the acts of the forces under their control. It is a key feature of this decision that those in command or authority and control positions have legal obligations over troops even when they are sent to a foreign country. They cannot take advantage of their power and status to grant to themselves, or their troops, unchecked powers over the life and fate of civilians.  They have a legal obligation to exercise responsible command and control over their troops – to provide sufficient training to ensure that their troops do not commit atrocities.

Mr Bemba's troops inflicted grave crimes against the civilian population. To this day, men, women and children who survived are still haunted by the horror of what happened to them, and what they saw happen to other victims.  Lives have been destroyed for years and it will take several generations to heal.

This case is also noteworthy in that it has highlighted the critical need to eradicate sexual and gender-based crimes as weapons of war in conflict by holding accountable those who fail to exercise their duties and responsibilities that their status as commanders and leaders entail.  The campaign of terror perpetrated by Mr Bemba's troops in the CAR was carried out on a large scale and targeted a significant number of civilians. In this case, the number of rapes committed against civilians exceeded the number of murders. This campaign had horrific consequences and resulted in great victimization. Justice plays an important role. We must continue to strive for the prosecution and accountability of those responsible for such crimes until they are a thing of the past.

Today's outcome is also another concrete expression of my personal commitment and that of my Office to apply the full force of the Rome Statute in the fight against sexual and gender-based crimes. We will spare no efforts to continue to bring accountability for such heinous crimes in future cases. Where some may want to draw a veil over these crimes I, as Prosecutor, must and will continue to draw a line under them.

Following this pivotal ruling, the Judges will now consider the appropriate sentence for Mr Bemba.  My Office will now prepare arguments for sentencing guided by the requirements of the Rome Statute.

It is my sincere hope is that this conviction brings some comfort to Mr Bemba's victims, including those subjected to sexual and gender-based crimes. I hope that it will contribute to preventing atrocity crimes in future so as to spare others from the same fate. 

Make no mistake: today is an important day for international criminal justice.

Condamnation ya M. Jean-Pierre Bemba lelo, mpo akokaki te kopekisa mpe kopesa etumbu na mapinga oyo ezalaki na nse ya bokonzi naye, mpona kolala bato na makasi, koboma mpe kozua biloko ya bato, elakisi eloko moko ya motuya na nzela oyo molai ya boluki bosembo mpona bato oyo bazokisamaki na ya mobulu ya kobanda 2002 tii 2003 na mboka République Centrafricaine (« RCA »).

Uta ebandili ya bosambisami ya likambo oyo, molende nabiso etikala koningana ata moke te, mpe ntina nabiso ezalaki polele: tokanaka toyeba bosolo na nzela ya boluki bilembo na lipanda lionso mpe na bosomi, mpe kofunda moto oyo azaliki mokonzi na kati na mbeba oyo minene esalemaki, lokola kolala bato na makasi, kobuka mibeko na kati ya mboka RCA contre mibali, basi mpe bana oyo bazalaki na moto ya kusunga bango te. Tolongi na ntina nabiso.  Bosembo mpona bato oyo bazokaki na mboka RCA nde ezalaki ntina na biso moko kaka mpe ya yambo mpenza na kati ya likambo oyo.

Procureure abengisaka bato 40 oyo bazokaki na kati ya likambo mpe apesaki mokama ya mikanda ya bilembo ya mbeba oyo ya somo bato ya M. Bemba basalaka na sanza mitano ya lisalisi na bango mpe bitumba ya somo, mpe bokobi ya bokonzi ya Bemba likolo na mapinga ya Mouvement de Libération du Congo (« MLC ») na kati ya mboka RCA. Na kati ya bisika oyo bazalaki kokonza, bato ya M. Bemba na lolenge na bango bazuaki biloko na bato na baquartiers mpe balalaka na makasi mokama ya basi na mboka mobimba. Batikalaka mpe koboma bana mboka wana oyo batelemelaka bolali bato na makasi mpe kozua biloko ya bato. Mikanda na kati ya likambo oyo ezali na bato oyo bazokaki koleka bato 5.000. 

Bokatami bwa likambo oyo elakisi  botalami malamu bwa likambo  na bazuzi misato oyo bandimelaki epai moko te, kotala bilembo nyonso oyo Procureure na ba avocats ya moto oyo afundamaki bapesaki, mpe bilembo na maloba ya bato oyo bazokisamaki oyo bazalaki na kati ya likambo oyo na nzela ya balobeli na bango. Na suka ya koyoka mekemeke likambo oyo na bosembo mpe bonsomi, bazuzi bamonaki ete mbeba oyo Procureure afundaki esalemaki na mapinga ya MLC mpe bamonaki ete M. Bemba azali coupable na kati ya mabe oyo esalemaki ntembe ezali ata moke te. 

Bokatami bwa likambo oyo lelo elingi koloba ete M. Bemba akokaki te, lokola mokonzi mpe mokambi ya mapinga ya MLC, kopekisa mpe kokonza baoyo bazalaki na nse ya bokonzi naye basala mbeba minene te mpe soki basali yango esengeli bazua etumbu. M. Bemba atindaki kaka te basoda naye bakende kosunga Mokonzi ya République centrafricaine, akonzaki kaka te bitumba oyo  ezalaki na mapinga mosusu. Kasi eloko oyo ye asalaki ezali nde kotika mapinga naye bakende na kati ya bana mboka République centrafricaine, esika basalaki makambo ya somo, ya kozua biloko ya bato, kolala bato na makasi mpe koboma.

Ata ndenge bosolo ya mbeba oyo esalemaka ezali somo, esengeli tosepela na ntina ya bonene bwa bokatami bwa likambo oyo. Eleko bokatami bwa likambo oyo elakisi ezali ete bacommandants bazali ba responsables ya misala mapinga nabango basalaka. Wana nde eloko ya motuya na ndenge likambo oyo ekatami, mpo ete bacommandants to bakonzi to ba oyo bazali kokamba bato bazali na baobligations engebene na mibeko likolo na mapinga na bango ata tango batindami na mboka mopaya. Bakoki kozua litomba te na bokonzi na bango mpe komipesa bango moko to mapinga na bango, bokonzi oyo moto moko te akoki kotuna na oyo etali bomoi mpe bozali ya bana mboka. Bazali na obligation engebene na mibeko mpona kokamba mpe kotala mapinga na bango – koteya bango malongi ya kokoka mpe ete mapinga na bango, basala mbeba ya minene minene te.

Mapinga ya M. Bemba basalaki mbeba ya somo contre bana mboka. Kino mokolo mwa lelo, mibali, basi mpe bana oyo babikaki bazali kaka kotungisama na somo ya  makanisi ya makambo oyo ekomela bango, mpe oyo bamonaki ezali kosalema na bato mosusu oyo bazokaka. Bomoi ya bato ebele ebebisama mpona ba mbula ebele mpe ekozua mabota ebele mpo ete bato wana babika.

Likambo oyo ezali mpe na litomba monene mpo ete ezali kolakisa ntina monene ya kosilisa penza mbeba ya kolala bato na makasi oyo ezalaka lokola bibundeli ya bitumba na kati ya bitumba na nzela ya kofunda bakonzi oyo bazangi kosala mosala na bango malamu mpe kobatela ba responsabilités na bango na lolenge elongobani. Bitumba oyo ya somo, oyo mapinga ya M. Bemba basalaki na kati ya mboka RCA ezokisaki bato ebele mpe balandelaki mingi mingi bana mboka. Na kati ya likambo oyo motuya ya bana mboka oyo balaliwaki na makasi eleki ba oyo babomaki. Bitumba oyo ezalaki na ba conséquences ya somo oyo esalaki ete ba victimes bazala ebele. Bosembo esali mosola mwa ntina. Esengeli tokoba na kofunda mpe kolandela ba oyo bazali kosala mbeba ya lolenge oyo kino makambo yango ekosalema lisusu te.

Résultat ya lelo ezali ndakisa mosusu oyo emonisi molende na ngai moko mpe oyo ya Bureau na ngai mpona kosalela penza Statut ya Rome na kati ya bitumba contre kolala bato na makasi. Tokolemba ata moke te mpona kokoba kolandela mpe kofunda mbeba ya lolenge oyo ya somo na makambo ekoya na sima. Esika bato mosusu balingi kozipa mbeba ya boye, ngai, na mosala mwa ngai mwa Procureur, esengeli bongo nakoba mpe kobeta sete likolo na yango.

Na sima ya bokati likambo oyo monene, bazuzi bakotala sikoyo etumbu oyo esengeli na M. Bemba. Bureau na ngai ekobongisa sikoyo bosambi mpona etumbu oyo ekolanda mibeko ya Statut ya Rome.

Ezali ya solo elikya na ngai ete condamnation oyo ekokitisa mitema ya bavictimes ya M. Bemba, na kati nabango tozali naba oyo banyokwamaki na kati ya mbeba ya kolaliwa na makasi. Nakolikya ete ekosunga mpona kokebisa mbeba ya lolenge oyo na bambula ezali koya mpo ete makambo yango ekomela bato mosusu te.

Bobosana eloko oyo te: lelo ezali mokolo moko mwa ntina mpona na bosembo bwa bikolo binso

Maloba ya Procureure ya Cour pénale internationale, Mme Fatou Bensouda, na maye matali condamnation ya M. Jean-Pierre Bemba : « Likambo oyo elakisi ntina mpenza ya kosilisa libela mbeba ya kolala bato na makasi oyo ezalaka bibundeli na kati ya bitumba »

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Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, regarding the conviction of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba: “This case has highlighted the critical need to eradicate sexual and gender-based crimes as weapons in conflict”
Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]