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DRC Rebel Leader Bemba Transferred to Hague Court


Officials with the International Criminal Court say former Congolese rebel leader Jean Pierre Bemba has been transferred to the Hague to face war crimes charges.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says Bemba was transferred Thursday to the Netherlands from Belgium, where he was arrested in May.

The court says Bemba's forces attacked civilians and committed acts of rape, torture, and pillaging in the Central African Republic during 2002 and 2003. CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse had invited Bemba's group into the country to help put down a coup attempt.

Bemba is one of four former Congolese militia leaders being held by the court. One of the others, Thomas Lubanga, remains in detention pending an appeal of a court order Wednesday that he be released. Lubanga is accused of using child soldiers to fight alongside his Union of Congolese Patriots militia during 2002 and 2003.

His trial was suspended last month after the court ruled that prosecutors inhibited his defense team.

Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo said Thursday that he remained confident justice for the militiamen's victims would come.

Bemba served as one of the Democratic Republic of Congo's four vice presidents following the end of the country's civil war in 2003. He ran for president in 2006, coming in second behind incumbent Joseph Kabila.

Bemba left the DRC for Portugal in April 2007 after clashes between his militia and government troops killed more than 200 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.


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