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ICC Appeals Chamber Acquits Bemba of Rape

On June 8, 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) decided, by majority, to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo of the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC Trial Chamber convicted Bemba in March 2016 of several crimes, including rape as a war crime and a crime against humanity, through command responsibility, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of Armée de libération du Congo, the military branch of the Mouvement de libération du Congo. As a result of this acquittal, the ICC boasts zero standing convictions for acts of sexual and gender-based violence. This reversal threatens to have profound effects on efforts to seek justice for victims of widespread sexual and gender-based violence committed during armed conflcit in CAR and more broadly threatens accountability efforts for all acts of sexual and gender-based violence charged under command responsibility at the ICC, as detailed by War Crimes Research Office director Susana SaCouto

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