RCA: Jean-Pierre Bemba acquitted, what about compensation for the victims?

Five days after the appeal trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba, who saw the former Congolese vice-president acquitted by the ICC, after ten years in prison, a press conference was held in Bangui on Wednesday (June 13th).

In particular, the Court’s representative called on its partners to unblock one million euros for assistance to victims.

Since last Friday, the International Criminal Court has bad press in the Central African Republic. The acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba caused an outcry and it is the 5,229 victims of this crisis who can no longer seek compensation from the Court.

Mike Cole, the ICC representative in Bangui, announced his desire to see the victims compensated.

“The Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims has made a decision to accelerate the program of recovery of its assistance mandate. The assistance program will be provided in the form of physical and psychological rehabilitation as well as material support.”

One million euros is the sum that has been requested to establish a starting capital for the Assembly of States Parties of the Trust Fund for Victims.

A little hope

For Arsene, one of the victims of the MLC’s abuses, this request raises some hope. “We are waiting for repairs, rehabilitation for us victims and also compensation.”

The return of The Hague angrily, Tuesday afternoon, the lawyer of the victims, Marie-Edith Douzima, judges that this fund is a lesser compensation.

“Despite the acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba, their suffering is not forgotten to the extent that the Appeals Chamber did not deny the fact that there are victims.”

At FIDH, which has supported the victims for years, it is believed that if the acquittal is criticized, this announcement is a good thing, filling the void of the verdict, and recognize the status of victims.

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