THE international criminal court has ruled that former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba will stand trial on five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A pre-trial panel of judges "found that there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is criminally responsible" for murder, rape and pillaging, said a court statement on Monday.
They referred the case for trial on three counts of war crimes and two of crimes against humanity for atrocities allegedly committed in the Central African Republic from October 2002 to March 2003 by militia commanded by Bemba.
Bemba, who was arrested in Brussels in May last year, argued before the court in January that the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) had not been under his command when deployed to help put down a coup.
But in their decision the pre-trial judges said there was evidence that Bemba had failed to prevent "the commission by the MLC troops of the crimes against humanity of murder and rape and the war crimes of murder, rape and pillaging". - Sapa-AFP