ICC TC issues judgment on Bemba contempt charges; five found guilty

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Trial Chamber VII issued it judgment in the Article 70 contempt cases against accused Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, and former defence counsel for Mr. Bemba Aimé Kilolo Musamba, former member of the Bemba defence team Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, DRC Parliamentarian Fidèle Babala Wandu and potential defence witness Narcisse Arido.   The five, accused of offences against the administration of justice relating to the false testimony of defence witnesses, have been on before the TC since September 2015.  In its judgment the TC made the following findings; 1.) that Mr. Bemba and the former members of his defence team, Mr. Kilolo and Mangenda, responsible for soliciting the false testimony of 14 defence witnesses; 2.) that Mr. Mangenda is guilty of aiding and abetting the false testimony of 9 defence witnesses, but not guilty of the same for 5 other witnesses; 3.) that Mr. Babala is guilty of aiding the corrupt influencing of 2 witnesses, but not guilty of aiding, abetting and other assisting the false testimony of 12 other witnesses; that Mr. Arido is guilty of corruptly influencing 4 defence witnesses, but not guilty of aiding, abetting and other assisting the false testimony of 4 other witnesses; and 5.) that Mr Arido is not guilty of giving false testimony himself before the Court.  In light of this judgment, the TC further decided that Mr. Kilolo, Mangenda, Babala and Arido would remain on conditional release while awaiting a decision on sentencing, while Mr. Bemba would remain in detention.  Appeals may be initiated by the Prosecution or Defence within 30 days of the TC’s judgment.

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