The government of the Central African Republic (CAR) says the acquittal and release of former DR Congo Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba is a failure of international justice.
Bemba was released from prison in Belgium on Wednesday after being acquitted of war crimes committed in CAR during 2002-2003 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) last Friday.
The ICC has since been forced to say “there was no political agenda” or conspiracy behind Bemba’s release.
Patrick Tshibuyi, who is in charge of ICC outreach in DR Congo, said the court had acted within its “legal framework”.
“Noting that Bemba had served more than 80% of his maximum possible sentence, the chamber considered it was disproportional to continue his detention,” he added.
However, he is not quite free yet. According to reports, Bemba is unable to actually leave custody until three separate Belgian government departments have signed his release.
Reports say Bemba could be considering a presidential bid in DR Congo’s election due in December.
He lost a 2006 run-off to incumbent Joseph Kabila, who is barred from seeking re-election.