CAR: Acquittal of Bemba a blow to victims
Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, the former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Solomon Sacco, Head of the International Justice team at Amnesty International, said:
“The decision to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is an important reminder that international justice is only possible if all suspects receive stringently fair trials before an independent and impartial judiciary.
“While the Appeals Chamber has held that Mr Bemba was entitled to an acquittal, the decision will be felt as a huge blow for the many victims of the ‘war against women’ waged in the Central African Republic (CAR) through a horrifying campaign of rape and sexual violence.
“The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and judicial authorities in CAR must learn from this decision and redouble their efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law, with full respect for their rights to a fair trial.
“5229 survivors of Bemba’s atrocities participated in the ICC proceedings – for these brave individuals, as well as thousands of other victims in CAR, the pursuit of truth, justice and reparations will continue.”