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Ex-Congo VP Bemba gets extra year in prison for witness bribing

Ex-Congo VP Bemba gets extra year in prison for witness bribing

Netherlands

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday sentenced former Congolese vice president and warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba to one year in prison and 300,000 euros in fines for witness tampering in his war crimes and crimes against humanity trial.

“The chamber imposes on you, Mr. Bemba, an additional sentence of a year in prison in addition to your current sentence,” Judge Bertram Schmitt said.

The 54-year-old former businessman was convicted in June 2016 for the wave of murders and rape committed by his militia, the MLC, in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003.

Bemba was again convicted in October for corrupting 14 witnesses, presenting false evidence and false testimony.

The prosecutor had requested eight more years of jail term.

Jean-Pierre Bemba was also sentenced to pay a fine of 300,000 euros within three months which will then be transferred to the Victims Fund, the ICC said.

“It is necessary to discourage such behavior,” added Mr. Schmitt.
Bemba and four others were charged with attempting to interfere with witnesses during his trial last year that saw him jailed for 18 years after the court found him guilty of war crimes.

The four include his legal counsel Aime Kilolo and a member of his defense team, Jean Jacques Mangeda, as well as a Congolese member of parliament, Fidele Babala and Narcisse Arido who served as an expert defense witness in the main trial.

They face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.

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