ICC overturns conviction of Congo Warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba

By BBC
ICC overturns conviction of Congo Warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba
ICC overturns conviction of Congo Warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba

Democratic Republic of Congo warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba has successfully overturned his landmark conviction.

Bemba, a former vice-president of DR Congo, was found guilty of war crimes committed in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002-2003 by the International Criminal Court.

He was accused of failing to stop his rebels from killing and raping people.

But a judge has now said he cannot be held responsible for their actions.

Christine Van den Wijngaert also said the judges in the 2016 case had failed to take into account his attempts to stop the crimes once he was made aware they were taking place, news agency Reuters reported.

The conviction had marked several milestones. It was the first time ICC had focused on rape as a weapon of war, and the first time a suspect had been convicted for crimes committed by others under his command.

Friday's decision was greeted by cheers from his supporters in the gallery. However, Bemba will remain in prison pending a contempt case appeal.

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