The Constitutional Court in Congo confirms the exclusion of ex-rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba of the presidential election on 23 december. Reason is his conviction for ‘influencing of witnesses by the International criminal Court in The Hague. This appears from a judgment of the Court Monday night.
Bemba was a serious contender for president Joseph Kabila to follow, who are not going to seek reelection. ‘The Constitutional Court confirms, on the recommendation of the attorney-general that Jean-Pierre Bemba ineligible because of undue influence of witnesses by means of corruption”, said the president of the chamber of the Constitutional Court.
Bemba was made to the Constitutional Court stepped in after the electoral commission his candidacy at the end of August to be inadmissible had been declared. Bemba had his candidacy submitted after a triumphant return in Kinshasa and his acquittal in appeal by the International criminal Court. In the first instance he was sentenced to eighteen years in prison for the hoofdaanklacht of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Judgment on appeal on 17 september
In a minor case, the International criminal Court him convicted of influencing witnesses. The decision on appeal the issue on 17 september. The Constitutional Court in Congo, says that ‘influencing of witnesses an aggravating circumstance to the facts of corruption”. ‘The election commission has therefore acted by Jean-Pierre Bemba ineligible.’
In addition to Bemba, the Court ruled that the appeal of ex-premier Adolphe Muzito unfounded, one of the six other candidates that the election commission had not chosen. The highest court of the country ordered the electoral commission to two other candidates still to admit: ex-prime minister Samy Badibanga and the only female candidate Marie-Josée Ifoku. According to the election commission, they could not participate in the elections because they have the Congolese nationality by birth.