Murder charges added after arrest and surrender by Belgium
In May 2008, the ICC issued an arrest warrant charging Bemba with rape as a crime against humanity and rape and pillaging as war crimes. The following day Belgian authorities arrested Bemba, in the country at the time, and surrendered him to the ICC. In June 2008, Pre-Trial Chamber II added murder charges, constituting both crimes against humanity and war crimes. Although the Chamber granted Bemba’s temporary release in August 2009 pending the start of trial, the Appeals Chamber overturned that decision in December 2009.
First ICC trial for command responsibility
Opening on 22 November 2010, Bemba was the first ICC suspect prosecuted for criminal responsibility as a military commander. The prosecutor alleged that he knew or should have known that combatants effectively under his control were committing crimes, and that he failed to respond appropriately. Visits by Bemba to the CAR during the MLC operation, orders by radio, speeches to his troops referring to war crimes, correspondences on official reports of such crimes, and inadequate training of MLC troops or resort to available MLC tribunals were presented as evidence of Bemba’s effective command, of his knowledge of the crimes being committed, and of his failure to take responsible action.