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ICC Orders Immediate Release of DR Congo’s Former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba

Judges at the International Criminal Court have ordered the interim release of former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba.

This development comes after the court acquitted him from the charges of war crimes & crimes against humanity.

Bemba had appealed an 18-year sentence handed to him in June 2016 for crimes committed in the Central African Republic.

He will be freed in Belgium, where his family lives, the court order said.

In its Judgment, the Appeals Chamber indicated that there was no reason to continue keeping Bemba in detention on the basis of the case related to alleged crimes, and that it would be for Trial Chamber VII to decide whether his continued detention is warranted in relation to his conviction for offences against the administration of justice.

The former vice president release will however be on specific conditions, including refraining from making public statements on this case, not changing his address without prior notice, not contacting any witness in this case and to fully comply with all orders issued in this case, and to surrender himself immediately to the relevant authorities if required by the Trial Chamber.

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