28.02.12 - ICC/BEMBA - PASSING OF NKWEBE LIRISS, LEAD COUNSEL OF BEMBA

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}He passed away in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) on 26 February 2012, after a long illness. A business lawyer, Nkwebe Liriss had been appointed by Mr Bemba to lead the Defence team since 30 July 2008. “Mr Nkwebe Liriss’s death is an enormous loss to the Court. His sharp legal acumen and dedication made him a highly accomplished jurist. While missing his contributions, the ICC Registry will continue to offer all necessary support to the team that he was leading in order to guarantee a high-level legal representation of Mr Bemba,” said Silvana Arbia, Registrar of the ICC. The Prosecutor was  expected to hear its last witness this week but his testimony was delayed and no date has been fixed yet for the resumption of hearings. A status conference at which Bemba's defence was expected to state when it would commence its case and give the number of witnesses it would call has been postponed, and is now scheduled to take place on March 12. Jean-Pierre Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. He pleads not guilty. SM/GF    © Hirondelle News Agency