Bemba, Kilolo et al. case: Appeals Chamber dismisses the appeals of Messrs. Kilolo, Babala and Mangenda
Posted by African Press International on July 11, 2014
Situation: Central African Republic
Case:The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido
The 11th July 2014, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its judgments in which it dismissed, by majority, the appeals of Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo against the decisions of Pre-Trial Chamber II of 14 and 17 March 2014 rejecting their requests for interim release.
During a public hearing held today at the ICC, the Presiding Judge in this appeal, Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, read a summary of the judgments explaining that the Appeals Chamber, by majority of its five judges, decided, after a thorough examination, to dismiss the grounds of appeal submitted by the three suspects, having found no clear errors materially affecting the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decisions.
Judge Monageng also read a summary of the dissenting opinions of Judge Anita Ušacka and Judge Erkki Kourula. Judge Ušacka considered that, given the fact that offences against the administration of justice are in no way comparable to core crimes under the Rome Statute, the Pre-Trial Chamber erred in applying existing jurisprudence on interim release to analyse whether their continued detention was justified. Judge Kourula opined that the Pre-Trial Chamber erred in stating that the offences were of ‘utmost gravity’, and held this to have critically impacted the Pre-Trial Chamber’s assessment of the conditions under article 58 (1) (b) of the Statute. Both dissenting opinions concluded that the matter should be remanded to the Pre-Trial Chamber for a new decision on each of the suspects’ requests for interim release.
Background: On 20 November 2013, Judge Cuno Tarfusser, acting as single judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II, issued a warrant of arrest for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, his lead Counsel Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo (a member of Mr Bemba’s Defence team and case manager), Fidèle Babala Wandu (a member of the DRC Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo), and Narcisse Arido (a Defence witness) for offences against the administration of justice allegedly committed in connection with the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, consisting of corruptly influencing witnesses before the ICC and presenting evidence that they knew to be false or forged. All suspects in this case are currently in the ICC’s custody.