Tuesday , May 24 2022

Former VP Congo seeks damage over war crimes convictions



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AND HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Former vice president of Congo released on appeal for war crimes in the Central Republic of Africa looking for millions of dollars in compensation from the International Criminal Court, his lawyers said Monday.

Jean-Pierre Bemba lawyers last week filed a request asking judges in the global court to award a total of almost 69 million euros ($ 77 million) to Bemba for what was called misuse of justice .

The amount includes compensation for the Bemba decade spent in prison and damages for legal costs and losses in the value of assets frozen by the court, the lawyers said.

"Mr Bemba's property was abandoned over a period of 10 years to eliminate, dismiss, or rotate," he said in a statement.

The depreciated assets included the solicitors listed in the Boer jet 727, an aircraft built from the 1960s to the 1980s for commercial travel for travelers. Bemba aircraft were installed in Portugal in 2008.

When he tried to get back to help pay legal bills, "we were told that the prosecution was not able to find the keys," said his lawyers.

"The plane is now a scrap. It's still standing on the tarmac at Faro Airport," said Bemba's legal team.

Bemba, a military command in Congo, was convicted in 2016 on two counts of crime against humanity and three counts of war crimes for a campaign of murder, rape and losing his troops in the Central Republic of Africa during 2002-2003.

The judges of the International Criminal Court appeals last year rejected the Bemba conflict in 2016

The court did not have any Monday comment on the substance of the application.

"An application is presented to the judges. We must wait for judges' decisions and we can not guess the result," said court spokesman Fadi El Abdallah, in an email.

Bemba solicitors said that, if he received compensation from the court, the money would be used to "provide compensation for the people of the Central African Republic."

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