UN-backed court sentences Jean-Pierre Bemba to 18 years for war crimes

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Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo stands trial in the International Criminal Court. Photo via ICC

A Congolese former rebel commander has been sentenced to 18 years of prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape, murder and pillage.

The UN-backed International Criminal Court (ICC) made the announcement on Tuesday, declaring Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

The crimes were committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between 2002 and 2003.

Janie Cangelosi reports.

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo was the military commander for a rebel group called the Liberation Movement for Congo.

The forces were under his effective authority and control when the crimes were carried out in the Central African Republic from October 2002 to March 2003.

They include rape, murder and pillage.

Mr Bemba was arrested by the Belgian authorities in May 2008 and surrendered to the Court in June.

He has until September this year to appeal the decision

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations.

Duration: 25″

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