22 Mar 2016

Former Congolese warlord found guilty of war crimes

8:33 am on 22 March 2016

Former Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba has been found guilty of war crimes in a landmark trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Bemba, 53, was accused of failing to stop his rebels from killing and raping people in neighbouring Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.

He had sent more than 1000 fighters to help put down an attempted coup.

Bemba, once vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will remain in custody until sentencing.

The court in The Hague found him guilty of several charges including rape and murder. He is expected to appeal.

It is the first time the ICC has focused on rape as a weapon of war, and the first time a suspect has been convicted over crimes committed by others under his command.