Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

Charges:

▪ Rape as a crime against humanity- Art. 7(1)(g), Rome Statute

▪ Rape as a war crime – Art. 8(2)(e) (vi), Rome Statute

Other Relevant Sections:

▪ Art.28(a), Rome Statute


Facts:

▪ Bemba Gombo was the President and Commander-in-chief of the Movement of liberation of Congo. Bemba’s forces had allegedly inflicted widespread crimes against the civilians [mass rapes, murder, pillage].

▪ Initially, in 2009 charges against Bemba for crimes against humanity [rape; torture] and war crimes [rape, torture, pillaging] were confirmed by the Pre Trial Chamber II. Trial Chamber in 2016 held that Mr. Bemba was responsible for acts of his subordinates because he hadn’t adequately taken steps to prevent the commission of crimes. [“Doctrine of command responsibility” or “Cumulative Charging”].

▪ On Appeal, Bemba was acquitted since Bemba had faced limitations due to his ability as a remote commander while MLC troops were operating in a foreign country.

▪ The Appeals Chamber viewed charges that were added after the Confirmation of Charges decision as beyond the scope of the case. Instead of culling out those, the Chamber proceeded to acquit Bemba of all charges including those that had been proved beyond reasonable doubt before the Trial Chamber [These were not disputed by either parties as well].


Criticism:

Allows other military commanders to be exempt of subordinates under their control simply because they aren’t in the same location.


Read the full Trial judgment here and the Appeals Chambers judgment here.