Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Bemba to sue ICC for $75m

Lawyers for the former rebel leader and Vice-President of DR Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) last year, are seeking nearly $75m (£57m) in damages.

Jean Pierre Bemba

They want compensation for what they say was his unlawful detention, legal fees and losses due to the alleged mismanagement of his assets seized by the court.

During 10 years in detention, Mr Bemba’s assets “were simply allowed to rot”, his lawyer Peter Haynes told journalists in The Hague.

The assets included seven aeroplanes, three villas in Portugal, three parcels of land in DR Congo and two boats.

The amount he is seeking is just under half of the ICC’s annual budget of some $168m, Reuters news agency reports.

No date was set for when the filing would be considered by ICC judges, who have rejected similar claims in the past.

Mr Bemba, a successful businessman and an opposition politician before his arrest, was acquitted May last year of crimes committed by members of a militia under his command.

His legal team said if awarded, part of the amount would go to pay reparation for war victims.

Mr Bemba was excluded from running in the December presidential election because he was convicted of witness tampering by the ICC, an offence which is a form of corruption under DR Congo electoral law. BBC News.