Bemba ap­peals ICC war crimes con­vic­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News/worldwide -

THE HAGUE — For­mer Con­golese vice-pres­i­dent Jean-Pierre Bemba, jailed for 18 years for war crimes, has for­mally ap­pealed against his con­vic­tion by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court, ar­gu­ing his trial was “flawed,” his lawyers have said on Wed­nes­day.

Bemba last week “filed an ap­peal against his con­vic­tion”, his de­fence team said in a state­ment sent to AFP, adding that his rights had been vi­o­lated to the point that “the Bemba trial, in fact, was a mis­trial”.

The for­mer mili­tia leader was sen­tenced in June to 18 years in jail af­ter be­ing found guilty at the ICC on five charges of war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity.

Once the pow­er­ful leader of the Con­golese Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment (MLC), Bemba failed to stop a se­ries of rapes and mur­ders com­mit­ted by his troops in the Cen­tral African Repub­lic in 2002 and 2003.

Bemba’s case was the first be­fore the ICC to fo­cus on sex­ual vi­o­lence as a weapon of war and the first to un­der­line a mil­i­tary com­man­der’s re­spon­si­bil­ity for the con­duct of troops un­der his con­trol. But his lawyers ar­gued in their ap­peal filed on Septem­ber 19 that the judges’ “find­ings on ef­fec­tive con­trol fall far out­side es­tab­lished mil­i­tary doc­trine and prac­tice”. — AFP.

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