Acquitted

Ex-Congolese VP seeks damages from war crimes court

In Summary

• Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was acquitted of war crimes by ICC last year, is seeking 70 million euros ($75 million dollars) in damages.

• The court has never awarded damages to acquitted persons.

Congolese opposition leader and former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba in Brussels, Belgium July 24, 2018
FREE Congolese opposition leader and former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba in Brussels, Belgium July 24, 2018
Image: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

Congo's former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba wants the ICC to compensate him after he was acquitted of war crimes.

The former militia leader was detained for 10 years in The Hague during criminal proceedings.

Bemba is seeking 70 million euros (Sh7.8 billion) in damages for unlawful detention, legal fees and losses due to mismanagement of seized assets.

The assets included seven aeroplanes, three villas in Portugal, three parcels in the DRC and two vessels, said his lawyer, Peter Haynes.

Bemba’s lawyers on Monday said compensation paperwork had been filed.

During detention, Bemba’s assets “were simply allowed to rot”, Haynes told journalists in The Hague.

 

The claim is under half of the ICC’s annual budget of about 150 million euros (Sh16.8 billion).
No date was set for a hearing.

In the past, defendants have sought damages from the court for unlawful detention, but none were awarded.

A court spokesman said Bemba's case would be considered by the judges.

Bemba was a successful businessman and opposition politician before his arrest.

In May last year, he was acquitted of crimes committed by members under his command.

Bemba’s legal team said if damages are awarded, a part would pay reparations to war victims.