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ICC to sentence CAR rebel leader on June 21


New York –  Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday announced that it will sentence Central African Republic (CAR) rebel leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba, on June 21, Tuesday, at the Hague, Netherlands.

An ICC statement said that the ICC judges may impose a sentence of imprisonment to which they could add a fine or forfeiture of proceeds, property and assets derived directly or indirectly from the crimes.

“A sentence cannot exceed a maximum of 30 years, except when justified by the extreme gravity of the crime.
“Also, the individual circumstances of the convicted person, in which case, a sentence of life imprisonment may be imposed,” it stated.

It, however, noted that the number of years a person has previously spent in detention by the court will be deducted from the sentence imposed by the judges.

The statement said that the ICC Trial Chamber III is composed of Presiding Judge Sylvia Steiner (Brazil), Judge Joyce Aluoch (Kenya) and Judge Kuniko Ozaki (Japan).

On March 21, the ICC Trial Chamber III declared Bemba guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of two counts of crimes against humanity, murder and rape and three counts of war crimes, murder, rape, and pillaging.

The crimes were committed in Central African Republic from on or about Oct. 26, 2002 to March 15, 2003 by a contingent of the Mouvement de Libération du Congo troops.

The ICC said that Bemba was a person effectively acting as a military commander with effective authority and control over the forces that committed the crimes.

Bemba was arrested by the Belgian authorities on May 28, 2008, pursuant to an ICC arrest warrant, and surrendered to the ICC on June 3, 2008.

On June 15, 2009, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed the charges against him, and his trial started on Nov. 22, 2010 and the closing oral statements of parties and participants were delivered on Nov. 12 and 13, 2014.

The Pre-Trial Chamber granted 5,229 persons the status of victims authorised to participate in the proceedings. (dpa/NAN)

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