Bemba Trial Website (The Hague)

Central African Republic: ICC Investigators Tapped Bemba and His Lawyers' Phone Calls

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Prosecutors also charged that defense lawyers paid Mr. Arido to provide false or forged documents and that he was an intermediary in transferring money to witnesses.

Judge Tarfusser stated that apprehending the accused individuals would ensure their appearance at trial and deter them from obstructing or endangering the proceedings. It would also prevent the commission of further crimes.

The judge said evidence showed that despite his detention, Mr. Bemba continued to maintain international political connections and he could mobilize financial resources so as to prevent his prosecution or that of his associates. The judge added that the two defense lawyers and Mr. Wandu possessed travel documents that could enable them to flee the court's jurisdiction.

Regarding Mr. Arido, the judge stated that he failed to appear before the court for his scheduled testimony, "and given that the visa, secured for this sole purpose with the court's assistance, was misused by him to travel to France, he has already shown that the likelihood of his voluntary appearance before the Court is slim, if not non-existent."

Mr. Arido is believed to be 'Witness D04-11' who was due to testify in September 2012 but did not board the flight booked for him to The Hague.

The arrest warrant also authorized the search and seizure of relevant items from Mr. Bemba's cell and the homes and workplaces of the other suspects. Authorities were also requested to locate and freeze all the individuals' assets.

Mr. Bemba has been in ICC detention since July 2008. He is charged with failure to rein in his Movement for the Liberation of Congo troops as they brutalized civilians in the Central African Republic during a conflict in 2002 and 2003. He has pleaded not guilty in the trial which commenced in November 2010.

Besides Mr. Arido, the other suspects in the new case are being held at the Scheveningen detention center and have made initial appearances before the court. A series of status conferences are scheduled to take place until May 2014 for the filing of evidence and other submissions by the prosecution and the defense. Thereafter, Judge Tarfusser shall render a written decision on the confirmation of charges.

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