Jailing of warlord “victory in battle to end impunity”
The International Criminal Court announced today that Jean-Pierre Bemba, an ex-rebel leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been jailed for 18 years following his convictions for war crimes including sexual violence in the Central African Republic.
Erica Hall, World Vision UK’s Senior Child Rights Policy Adviser who has met hundreds of victims of sexual violence in conflict zones, said:
“The sentence sends a clear message to thousands of Bemba’s victims, and victims of sexual violence around the world.
“They want justice for what has happened to them and his conviction should be seen as a victory in the battle to end impunity.
“We must ensure that voices of survivors, and also the children born of rape, are not forgotten.”
As the court decides the appropriate compensation for Bemba’s victims, World Vision is urging the ICC to also remember the indirect victims – including children born of rape. Adequate reparation for them is equally crucial and must not be neglected.
Ms Hall added: "By handing down a more severe sentencing for his crimes of sexual violence than for murder, the court has truly recognised the impact of sexual crimes on victims."
Judges announced sentences of 16 years for murder and pillaging and 18 years for rape, with the jail terms running concurrently. He has already served 8 years behind bars.