The Hague, January 13, 2011 (FH) - The fourth witness of the prosecution in Jean-Pierre Bemba's trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) declared on Wednesday that the four men who raped her in October 2002 were " Banyamulenge" speaking Lingala.

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Jean-Pierre Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, notably for rapes, murders and pillaging perpetrated by his militia in Central African Republic (CAR) between October 26, 2002 and March 15, 2003.

The anonymous witness mostly testified in camera. However, she stated during her public appearance that she had been raped at night by four men, following an attack of her neighborhood by " Banyamulenge". Her brother was killed. " They took me outside, next to the house, close to the old privy, and there they raped me", she said to the court.

According to the witness, the attackers were wearing uniforms from the Central African Presidential Guard but were "Banyamulenge", the name given to Jean-Pierre Bemba militia at the time.

Israeli Defence lawyer Nick Kaufman cross-examined the witness asking her how she could be sure they were not Central African soldiers. "They did not speak our language", the witness replied in sango." They were speaking Banyamulenge language, Lingala".

Jean-Pierre Bemba attentively followed the whole testimony, which will resume on Friday.

The prosecution is expected to call to the box a fifth witness next Monday.


© Hirondelle News Agency