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“Historic”: ICC sentences Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison

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“Historic”: ICC sentences Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison

Posted by Enough Team on June 21, 2016


Enough Project experts available for comment and analysis

Today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Experts at the Enough Project have been following the case and are available for comment and analysis.

Holly Dranginis, Senior Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, said: "Bemba’s sentencing decision will impact communities all over central Africa, and the future of international criminal trials. It is historic on a few levels, this was the first time the court decided an appropriate punishment for gender-based violence — in this case, brutal rapes committed by Bemba's troops against women and children. Bemba is also the highest-level official the court has ever sentenced, helping pave a path for the court to prosecute more government officials who oversee abuses by their troops. The hope is that with each new condemnation, the ICC can gradually extinguish the climate of impunity that still prevails for grave crimes, especially by official state actors, and especially against women."

In March, Bemba was convicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape, murder, and pillage committed during armed conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003.

Nathalia Dukhan, Field Researcher and Analyst for the Enough Project, said: "Today's verdict represents a real hope for many war victims seeking justice, particularly in countries experiencing long-lasting conflicts that are failing to address impunity. For many Central Africans, this verdict is only partial and leaves justice unfinished. Warlords involved in the 2002- 2003 coup in CAR who have not been convicted by the ICC have backslided in the 2013 crisis, leaving thousands of new victims behind."

Bemba is a former leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), an armed rebel group that committed widespread sexual violence and pillage during a military campaign to help defend the former president of CAR, Ange-Félix Patassé, from a coup attempt. 

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The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at