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Jean-Pierre Bemba Convicted of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

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Jean-Pierre Bemba Convicted of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

Posted by Enough Team on March 21, 2016

Enough Project experts available for comment and analysis on landmark case

On Monday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled Jean-Pierre Bemba guilty of 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: “Today's verdict is a victory for the women, men, and children who were brutalized by Bemba's forces, particularly victims of rape – this is the first time the court has convicted anyone on sexual violence charges."

Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “The verdict also means that Bemba won't be returning to Congo to stand in the elections. He would have been a very potent challenger. It's now time for President Kabila to commit to holding the elections as soon as possible.”

Dranginis added, "The court's ruling also breaks new ground on how we judge powerful leaders who commit atrocities from far away. International justice is catching up with modern conflict dynamics, which rarely respect borders. No longer can criminal elites hide atop complex command structures. Though Mr. Bemba was in DRC during the commission of many of his crimes, and a Congolese citizen, the court found he was nonetheless the "Commander in Chief" of forces in CAR.  The next crucial step is to decide victims' reparations – the court should consider drawing those from the accused's own coffers and include specific measures for victims of sexual violence.”

Bemba is a former leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), a rebel group from the Democratic Republic of Congo responsible for widespread sexual violence during a military campaign to help defend the former president of the Central African Republic, Ange-Félix Patassé, from a coup attempt. 

In its verdict today the ICC found him guilty, as military commander of the MLC, on two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes including murder, rape, and pillage.  

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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