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  • Al Jazeera
  • France 24
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World News of Thursday, 14 June 2018


Bemba militia victims to share $1m fund

Jean Pierre Bemba, Jean-Pierre Bemba sent his militia into neighbouring Central African Republic in 2002-3

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is to launch an assistance fund for victims in the Central African Republic (CAR) of a militia once run by the former Democratic Republic of Congo Vice-President, Jean-Pierre Bemba.

The announcement of the $1.2m (£900,000) fund comes after the release of Mr Bemba, whose conviction on war crimes charges was overturned by the court.

In 2002, Mr Bemba sent his 1,500 strong militia into the CAR to suppress a coup.

There his forces committed murder, rape and looting but appeal judges ruled he couldn't be held responsible for their crimes.

The fund for victims in the CAR was first unveiled five years ago, but the ICC says it did not become operational because of the security situation.

However, Mike Cole, the head of the ICC in CAR, told a press conference it would now "accelerate the launch" of the programme, which will provide "physical and psychological rehabilitation, as well as material support" for victims and their families.

The serious crimes committed in CAR "have not been forgotten", he added.