First Ever International Criminal Court Conviction for Use of Rape in War

The International Criminal Court in the Hague (Netherlands) pronounced a guilty verdict on Congo warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba. According to the BBC,

Bemba, 53, was accused of failing to stop his rebels from killing and raping people in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 and 2003.

He had sent more than 1,000 fighters to help put down an attempted coup.

Bemba, once vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will remain in custody until sentencing.

The court in The Hague found him guilty of several charges including rape and murder. He is expected to appeal.

It is the first time the ICC has focused on rape as a weapon of war, and the first time a suspect has been convicted over crimes committed by others under his command….

The fact that Bemba was convicted for sexual violence is significant. Many Congolese suspects have been accused of such crimes, but this is the first guilty verdict.

It will send the message to high-ranking soldiers and militiamen in the DRC that they are responsible for preventing sexual violence……

The court heard horrific accounts, including how a man, his wife, his daughters and his granddaughter were all gang-raped by militiamen.

 

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