Bangui, Central African Republic — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a €1m fund for victims of a militia once run by former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, it said on Wednesday.
The fund — announced after Bemba was acquitted on war crimes charges — will be dispensed to people who suffered at the hands of Bemba militia in the Central African Republic (CAR), the ICC’s director in that country, Mike Cole, told media.
The serious crimes committed "have not been forgotten", he said. The violence took place over five months in 2002 and 2003, when the Democratic Republic of Congo was in the grip of a war that sucked in neighbouring countries.
Bemba was leader of a 1,500-strong militia called the Congolese Liberation Movement. He sent his men into CAR in October 2002 to quash a coup against the then president, Ange-Felix Patasse.
There they committed murder, rape and looting.