Sunday, October 30, 2016
U.S. Issues Statement on ICC Judgment in Central African Republic
ICC Judgment in Bemba et al. Witness Tampering Case
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Department of State
October 22, 2016
The United States welcomes the delivery of this week’s verdict by a panel of judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which found Jean-Pierre Bemba and four associates guilty of offenses against the administration of justice.
These five individuals were found to have corruptly influenced defense witnesses in connection with Bemba’s separate ICC trial, in which he was convicted of atrocities committed by a Congolese militia under his command in the Central African Republic.
Witness tampering—including intimidation and violence against witnesses testifying for the prosecution and the defense —remains a critical vulnerability for efforts all over the world to establish the truth aboutatrocities and promote justice for the victims. When threats emerge to the integrity of such proceedings, we encourage national authorities to take steps to address them and hold those who are responsible to account.
The United States is committed to working as appropriate with governments, tribunals, and other actors to better ensure that those who have the courage to share their testimony about mass atrocities are not made victims a second time for doing so. Witness intimidation must not become a pathway to impunity.