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Monday, March 08, 2010

ICC postpones trial of Congo rebel leader Bemba until July
Jaclyn Belczyk at 3:10 PM ET

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday postponed the trial [press release] of former Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba [case materials, JURIST news archive], originally set to begin April 27 [JURIST report], until July 5. The trial was delayed to allow the court more time to consider the defense's motion on the admissibility of the case, filed in February. The prosecutor and the victims' legal representatives will have until March 29 to submit their observations. The court will hold a status conference on April 27 to hear arguments on the defense motion.

In December, the ICC ordered [text, PDF] Bemba to remain in custody [JURIST report] until his trial. The ruling reversed a decision [JURIST report] issued in August ordering Bemba's conditional release. The order for release was opposed by ICC prosecutors who appealed [JURIST report] the original decision. The ICC in June ordered Bemba to stand trial [JURIST report] for war crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) [BBC backgrounder] from October 2002 to May 2003. Bemba was arrested [JURIST report] in Belgium in May 2008 after the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest for his actions in the CAR. He was indicted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity and transferred [JURIST report] to the ICC in July 2008.

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