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CAR - Latest ICC Press Releases: Bemba trial postponed until 5 July
09 Mar 2010
Please find below two press releases issued by the International Criminal Court
(ICC) relating to the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR),
announcing the postponement of the commencement of the Bemba trial to 5 July
2010 and reporting on outreach activities in the CAR.
These documents have been produced by the ICC. The Coalition for the ICC
distributes them as part of its mandate to inform member organizations and
individuals about ICC-related developments. The documents do not reflect the
views of the CICC as a whole or its individual members.
Please also take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC
(below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on
potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis.
The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information
about the ICC.
I. ICC PRESS RELEASES
i. "Commencement of the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba postponed until 5 July,
2010," ICC Press Release ICC-CPI-20100308-PR503, 8 March 2010,
"Today, 8 March, 2010, Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court
decided to postpone the commencement date of the trial in the case of The
Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo until Monday, 5 July, 2010. On 27 April,
2010, the date on which the trial was initially scheduled to commence, the
Chamber will hold a status conference to discuss the admissibility challenge
brought by the Defence for Mr Bemba.
The Chamber noted that its consideration of the Defence application and the
observations of the other parties and participants should be undertaken in a
sensible and achievable calendar, and that it could not be completed prior to
the date on which the trial was originally scheduled to commence. It also
considered that it is in the interests of justice to rule on the issue of
admissibility prior to the commencement of the trial since the Defence argues
that the trial should not be held before the Court anyway.
On 25 February, the Defence submitted a challenge to the admissibility of the
case on the grounds of respecting the complementarity between the work of the
Court and of the authorities in the Central African Republic, the lack of the
requisite level of gravity, and an abuse of process in the case against Mr
Today, the Chamber granted the Office of the Prosecutor and the Legal
Representatives of the Victims until the 29 March, to submit their observations.
The Chamber also requested that a summary of the Defence application be notified
to the Central African and Congolese authorities which may submit any
observations they may have by 19 April, 2010. The Defence will also have an
opportunity to respond to such observations.
The Chamber will issue its decision after considering the written observations
and the oral submissions made at the status conference on 27 April, 2010.
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is alleged to be criminally responsible for having
effectively acted as a military commander within the meaning of article 28(a) of
the Rome Statute for two crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three war
crimes (murder, rape and pillaging) allegedly committed on the territory of the
Central African Republic during the period approximately between 26 October,
2002 and 15 March, 2003.
After his arrest by the Belgian authorities in accordance with a warrant of
arrest issued by the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC, he was transferred to the
Court on 3 July, 2008. He is currently being detained at the ICC Detention
Centre in Scheveningen, The Hague.."
ii. "The International Criminal Court continues its information and outreach
campaign in the interior of the Central African Republic," ICC Press Release
ICC-CPI-20100301-PR499, 1 March 2010,
"This week, the Outreach Unit went to the town of Sibut (Kémo Prefecture) to
meet with the local authorities, representatives of the various religious
groups, women's groups and representatives of the voluntary sector.
Two awareness sessions were organised on Wednesday 24 February at the premises
of the Ministry of Social Affairs in Sibut. A total of 125 people took part in
these activities. The purpose of these initial meetings was to explain the
general principles governing the International Criminal Court (ICC) to the
authorities and the main representatives of civil society in Sibut and to
provide them with information on the progress of the proceedings in the case of
The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. For around one third of participants,
this was the first time they had heard of the ICC. Many of the questions asked
by the public thus concerned the mandate and functioning of the Court, and in
particular the question of its independence. The opportunity provided to victims
under the Rome Statute to participate in proceedings and to seek reparation also
aroused a good deal of interest among the various entities that had come
together for the occasion.
In a few weeks' time, the Court's representatives will return to Sibut to
organise an information and outreach session open to the general public. ..."
iii. "Bemba case: Commencement of the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba postponed until
5 July 2010", 'In the Courtroom' programme, International Criminal Court,
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