The Hague, January 25, 2011 (FH)   - Three hundred and thirty two alleged victims in the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba seek reparation before the International Criminal Court, ICC Spokesman Fadi El-Abdallah announced on Wednesday.

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The leader of Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), a Congolese rebel movement, is currently on trial at The Hague for his command responsibility in crimes committed by his troops in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

ICC is the first international jurisdiction to provide for a direct mechanism to award reparation to victims. Any victim can seek compensation, even if not part of the trial. Status of a "victim" is granted or denied by judges after reviewing facts submitted.

Jean-Pierre Bemba was given notice of the victims' requests at the beginning of January. However, the Chamber stated that no decision would be made before the final judgment.

If convicted of one or several counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Bemba could also be sentenced to award reparation to the victims.

According to Fadi El-Abdallah, "the court can either award an individual compensation or a collective one, depending on what it thinks is the best for the victims." As of today, the requests from the 322 victims are confidential.

A Trust Fund for Victims, funded by states, international organizations or private donors can be solicited if an accused doesn't have enough means. However, Jean-Pierre Bemba, a businessman who owns companies in the media sector and aerial transportation should not be in that situation.  


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