ICC sentences former Congo VP for witness tampering
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ICC sentences former Congo VP for witness tampering

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Monday sentenced [decision, PDF] former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Jean-Pierre Bemba [BBC profile] to 12 months in prison and issued a $350,000 fine for bribing witnesses [JURIST report] during his war crimes trial in 2016.

ICC Judge Bertram Schmitt reduced [Reuters report] his sentence to zero after factoring in the time he served following his conviction. Before his acquittal in June, Bemba spent 10 years in the ICC Detention Centre.

In his decision, Schmitt wrote:

Future accused persons can look at Mr Bemba’s conviction as a cautionary example as to what consequences obstructing the course of justice can have. Mr. Bemba’s acquittal in the main case should have been the end of his exposure to the court, yet he continues to have the spectre of this institution hanging over him because of his obstruction of the administration of justice.

Bemba returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo to submit [Al Jazeera report] his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election but was barred by a current law that prohibits people who were found guilty of corruption from entering the race.