Bemba, Kilolo et al. case: Pre-Trial Chamber II commits five suspects to trial
Situation: Central African Republic
Case: The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido
Today, 11 November 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) partially confirmed the charges of offences against the administration of justice for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido and committed the five suspects to trial. The Chamber also rejected the Defence's requests to stay the proceedings.
The Chamber found there were substantial grounds to believe that the suspects committed offences against the administration of justice in connection with witnesses' testimonies in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. The offences, all committed between the end of 2011 and 14 November 2013 in various locations, include corruptly influencing witnesses by giving them money and instructions to provide false testimony, presenting false evidence and giving false testimony in the courtroom, all perpetrated in various ways including by committing, soliciting, inducing, aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting in their commission.
The Chamber declined to confirm the charges brought by the Prosecutor in connection with the alleged presentation of false or forged documents.
Subject to the right of the parties (the Prosecution and the Defence) to request the Chamber's authorisation to appeal today's decision, the ICC Presidency will constitute a Trial Chamber in due course, which will be responsible for the trial.
Background: On 20 November 2013, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II issued a warrant of arrest for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, his former lead counsel Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo (a former member of Mr Bemba's Defence team and case manager), Fidèle Babala Wandu (a member of the DRC Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the Mouvement de 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.
Fidèle Babala Wandu and Aimé Kilolo Musamba were transferred to the ICC Detention Centre on 25 November 2013 and made their first appearance before the ICC, together with Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, on 27 November 2013. Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo was transferred to the ICC Detention Centre on 4 December 2013 and made his first appearance on 5 December 2013. Narcisse Arido was transferred to the ICC Detention Centre on 18 March 2014 and made his first appearance on 20 March 2014.
On 21 October 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber II ordered the release of Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido. The decision of 11 November 2014 has no impact on the interim release already ordered for these four suspects. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the fifth suspect in this case, remains in detention in connection with ongoing proceedings in another case before the Court, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.
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].