Judges order review of detention of DRC's Bemba

19th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Appeals judges of the International Criminal Court ordered Friday a review of an earlier decision to keep DR Congo ex-vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, due to go on trial next week, in detention.

"The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court directed trial chamber III to conduct a new review of the ruling on the detention of Jean-Pierre Bemba," the court said in a statement.

It reversed the outcome of the last review, done on July 28, to keep Bemba in custody, but said he would not be freed "subject to that new review".

Court rules determine that all chambers have to periodically review, at least once every 120 days, their rulings on the detention of accused.

"In carrying out the review, chambers have to assess whether there has been a change in the circumstances supporting the ruling on detention," said Friday's decision, concluding that the last review had been "insufficient".

"It restricted itself to only assessing the alleged new circumstances which Mr Bemba had presented," the statement said.

Bemba, 48, is due to go on trial Monday for murders, rapes and pillaging allegedly committed by members of his Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) helping troops of then Central African Republic president (CAR) Ange-Felix Patasse resist a coup attempt.

He is charged with three counts of war crimes and two of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in CAR from October 2002 to March 2003.

© 2010 AFP

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