22 March 2016

Congolese Ex-Rebel Commander’s Guilty Verdict for War Crimes Sends Strong Signal that Impunity ‘Will Not Be Tolerated’, Secretary-General Says

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General welcomes the judgement issued yesterday by the International Criminal Court in the case of Jean‑Pierre Bemba (Democratic Republic of the Congo).  Jean‑Pierre Bemba was the commander-in-chief of the former Congolese rebel group, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, as well as a Vice-President of the country during the 2003-2006 transition.  He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape, murder and pillage, committed in 2002-2003 in the Central African Republic.

The judgement of the Court reaffirms that impunity will not be tolerated and sends a strong signal that commanders will be held responsible for international crimes committed by those under their authority.  It also highlights the critical need to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence by addressing their wide-spread and systematic use as a weapon of war.

The Secretary-General notes that the judgement is a significant step towards bringing justice to the victims of these horrendous crimes in the Central African Republic.  He underlines in this regard the importance of addressing impunity for past crimes in both the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including to ensure lasting and sustainable peace.

For information media. Not an official record.