26 February 2013

Central African Republic: New Defense Witness Will Give All Evidence in Closed Session

International Criminal Court (ICC) officials have affirmed that a witness who started testifying yesterday for Jean-Pierre Bemba will give all of his evidence in closed session.

'Witness D04-19' is scheduled to testify for five days this week. The 15th witness to appear for Mr. Bemba, this witness is testifying via video link from an unknown location. The protective measures granted to him by judges, such as the use of a pseudonym and giving all his testimony in closed session are intended to keep his identity unknown to the public for fear of potential reprisals.

Most witnesses who have testified in Mr. Bemba's trial, which opened in November 2010, have been granted protective measures. Mr Bemba denies that he failed to control his troops who prosecutors allege brutalized civilians in the Central African Republic during 2002 and 2003.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow morning.

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