Central African Republic: The Confirmation of Charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo will start on 8 Dec 2008

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Situation: Central African Republic

Case: The Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo

The Hague, 31 October 2008 - On 31 October 2008, Trial-Chamber III decided that the Confirmation of Charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo will take place from 8 December to 12 December 2008.

The confirmation hearing is a public hearing held in the presence of the Prosecutor, the person charged, as well as his counsel, and the legal representatives of the victims. It is one stage of the criminal procedure before the International Criminal Court which aims at ensuring that no case goes to trial unless there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed the crime with which he has been charged.

Following this hearing, Trial Chamber III will decide whether or not to confirm the charges brought by the Prosecutor against Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo and commit him to trial.

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, alleged national of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), aged about 45 years old, was arrested on 24 May 2008 by the Belgian authorities following a Court's warrant of arrest. He was surrendered and transferred to the International Criminal Court on 3 July.

Mr Bemba, President and Commander in Chief of the Mouvement de libération du Congo (MLC), is alleged to be criminally responsible for five counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the Central African Republic from 25 October 2002 to 15 March 2003.

Thus Jean-Pierre Bemba is allegedly criminally responsible, jointly with another person or through other persons, within the meaning of article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, for:

- three counts of crimes against humanity: rape (article 7(1)(g)), torture (article 7(1)(f)), and murder (article 7(1)(a));

- five counts of war crimes: rape (article 8(2)(e)(vi)), torture (article 8(2)(c)(i)), committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment (article 8(2)(c)(ii)), pillaging a town or place (article 8(2)(e)(v)), and murder (article 8(2)(c)(i)).

For further information please contact Ms Sonia Robla, Head of Public Information and Documentation Section at +31 (0)70 515-8089 or +31 (0) 646448726 or at