Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

Arrest of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 25 May 2008
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Arrest of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, 25 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4847ac73c.html [accessed 19 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Sunday 25 May 2008

The International Criminal Court restores hope to victims in the Central African Republic

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisations in the Central African Republic, the Central African League for Human Rights (LCDH) and the Organisation for the Compassion and Development of Families in Distress (OCODEFAD), applaud the arrest of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, following a warrant of arrest issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President and Commander in Chief of the Mouvement de libération du Congo (MLC), is alleged to be criminally responsible for four counts of war crimes and two counts of crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the Central African Republic from 25 October 2002 to 15 March 2003. There are reasonable grounds to believe that under his direction, MLC troops carried out widespread or systematic attacks on the civilian population and committed acts of rape, torture, outrages upon personal dignity and pillaging.

FIDH and its member organisations were the first to investigate the tragic events of 2002 and 2003 (see report : "War Crimes in the Central African Republic: "When the Elephants Fight, the Grass Suffers") giving an account, through victim testimony, of serious international crimes committed by the warring parties during the conflict that pitted the loyalist troops of the former president Patassé and his Congolese militias against the rebel troops of General Bozizé.

Noting the lack of will and ability of the courts of the Central African Republic to judge the authors of these crimes (see report: "Forgotten, Stigmatized: Double Suffering of Victims of International Crimes") our organisations called upon the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC multiple times to launch an investigation of this situation and to begin to prosecute those at the highest levels of responsibility.

"The arrest of Jean-Pierre Bemba is a great victory for the victims of the Central African Republic, whose courage and self-sacrifice should be commended today. For six years, in spite of threats and stigmatisation, these victims have not stopped demanding justice. The International Criminal Court finally gives them this right. This is an enormous advance for the fight against impunity in Africa and around the world", said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH.

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