On 22 May 2015, Trial Chamber VII of the International Criminal Court (ICC) scheduled the opening of the trial in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido for 29 September 2015.
The Chamber stressed the right of the accused persons to be tried without undue delay and noted that the preparations for the trial have been ongoing since November 2014 as well as the fact that the Prosecution disclosed to the Defence the majority of the incriminatory material in its possession. The Chamber further directed the Prosecution to file a list of evidence to be relied on at trial, as well as a list of witnesses no later than 30 June 2015. In light of all these factors, the Chamber set the trial commencement date for Tuesday, 29 September 2015.
The trial is conducted by Trial Chamber VII, composed of Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Presiding Judge, Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Judge Bertram Schmitt.
Background: On 11 November 2014, Pre-Trial Chamber II partially confirmed the charges of offences against the administration of justice for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido and committed the five suspects to trial. The Chamber found there were substantial grounds to believe that the suspects committed offences against the administration of justice in connection with witnesses’ testimonies in the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.
The offences, all allegedly committed between the end of 2011 and 14 November 2013 in various locations, would include corruptly influencing witnesses by giving them money and instructions to provide false testimony, presenting false evidence and giving false testimony in the courtroom, all perpetrated in various ways including by committing, soliciting, inducing, aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting in their commission. On 30 January 2015, the Presidency of the Court constituted Trial Chamber VII and referred the Bemba et al. case.
ICC Press Release: 22.05.2015