The Hague, July 13, 2011 (FH) - Jean-Pierre Bemba's trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adjourned on July 11 until August 22, due to judiciary recess.

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During the last four weeks, the Prosecution has been hearing witnesses and victims of lootings. Witnesses also gave information on Bemba's militia behavior during the conflict.

Jean-Pierre Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity for murder, rapes and looting committed by his troops in Central African Republic between 2002 and March 2003.

Witness 209 explained in June that "Bemba's troops were composed of Rwandan and former Mobutu soldiers". According to the witness, " Banyamulenge were not originally soldiers but farmers (...) That's why instead of fighting they did prefer to rape women and to loot other people belongings". "They were farmers, bean croppers", he added." They did not respect their hierarchy".

Another witness code-named 112 explained how rebels came to his house, beat him and took everything he had: "I had a big radio, a thick foam mattress. I had my clothes, my bed, a sewing machine, a cassava mill, not to speak about my house doors and windows that ended as wood fuel". He declared that Banyamulenge were used to cross the border with all their lootings.

Bemba's trial opened on November 2010.


© Hirondelle News Agency