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‘Oops, we misplaced the keys…too bad!’: The International Criminal Court and the fiasco of Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba’s compensation claim

Background On 18 May 2020, over a year after Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo filed a claim at the International Criminal Court (the Court) seeking compensation for alleged miscarriage of justice and for alleged destruction and damage caused to his property, the Pre-Trial Chamber dismissed the application. Mr Bemba was charged in 2008 with crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003. He was convicted by the Trial Chamber in 2016 and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. However, on 8 June 2018, the Appeals Chamber overturned his conviction, after which he was released from detention. By the time of his release, he had spent 10 years at the Court’s detention facility in Scheveningen, The Netherlands. Following his acquittal, Mr Bemba filed a claim for compensation, based on Article 85 of the Rome Statute of the Court (Rome Statute). Mr Bemba alleged grave and manifest miscarriage of justice and requested compensation of not less than €68.6 million for his long detention,…

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A “Schrödinger’s Cat” Moment for Co-Perpetration Liability? The Yekatom and Ngaïssona Decision on the Confirmation of Charges

On 11 December 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed, in part, the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the case against Alfred Yekatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona. The (highly) redacted version of the Decision was published on 20 December 2019. So far, it has received little attention in scholarly…

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Multiple Avenues for State Cooperation with the International Criminal Court – Part Two

Yesterday’s post (see here) discussed witness protection and the release of temporarily or permanently acquitted defendants as potential avenues for State cooperation with the ICC. Today’s post will consider further opportunities for such cooperation and conclude with some general observations on the issue. Detainees’ family visits Many detainees cannot afford to…

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Multiple Avenues for State Cooperation with the International Criminal Court – Part One

The issue of obtaining State cooperation in prosecutions of criminal suspects is one of the biggest challenges facing the International Criminal Court (ICC). While States are supposed to have clear and binding obligations under Part 9 of the Rome Statute, sometimes those legal obligations are frustrated. As a result, the ICC has adopted an approach that involves ‘multiple…

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False Positives, False Negatives, and Prosecutorial Discretion regarding the Jurisdiction of the ICC

Critics of the ICC Prosecutor’s request for a determination under article 19(3) in the Situation in the State of Palestine are right to point out that she could have simply launched an investigation without seeking such a ruling. As this critique goes, the Prosecutor has the authority to investigate a State referral without seeking the…

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