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DRC’s Bemba To Face ICC Sentencing In Bribery Case

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DRC's Bemba To Face ICC Sentencing In Bribery Case

International judges will sentence former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba next month for bribing witnesses during his war crimes trial, the Hague-based tribunal said on Wednesday.

“Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court scheduled a hearing on 17 September to deliver its decision (on the) re-sentencing (of) Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba,” and two others, the ICC said in a statement.

In June, a starkly divided five-judge bench overturned Bemba’s 2016 conviction and 18-year jail term for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his troops in the neighbouring Central African Republic in 2003 and acquitted him.

However, Bemba and five co-accused in a separate case were convicted on appeal in March of bribery, corruption and of coaching 14 defence witnesses in his main trial.

Bemba was originally handed a year-long prison term and a $350 000 fine.

Appeals judges however ruled that the original sentences imposed for corruption of between two-and-half years and six months were too low and they sent the case back to the lower court for re-sentencing.

Prosecutors called for a maximum five years to be imposed on Bemba, his lawyer Aime Kilolo and his legal case manager Jean-Jacques Mangenda.

After Bemba’s June 8 acquittal in the main war crimes case, he was provisionally freed by the ICC pending his sentencing in the corruption case.

Bemba has since returned to the DRC but has been banned from running in the central African country’s upcoming presidential elections because of the ICC’s bribery conviction.

The former warlord and powerful businessman said he would take a legal route to contest the country’s elections by appealing to the DRC’s top court.

It remains unclear whether Bemba will return to The Hague for the sentencing.

The maximum sentence the court can impose is five years but Bemba has already spent a decade behind bars during his trial and thus is unlikely to serve any more time.

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African News

Kenya Committed To Improving Aviation Infrastructure

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Kenya Committed To Improving Aviation Infrastructure

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta says the government is committed to improving the country’s civil aviation infrastructure.  He credited the industry with enhancing the country’s economy and national development.

He said at the eleventh forum of the international civil aviation organization air services negotiation meeting in Nairobi that the aviation industry contributes four tenths of a percent to the country’s gdp.  He also said the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi provides seventeen thousand direct and more than half a million indirect jobs.

Kenyatta said about eight in ten tourists visiting Kenya use air transport.

He said these are some of the reasons his government is committed to investing in aviation infrastructure to help the industry play its critical role in the economy.

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2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo

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2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo

At least two persons were reported killed in Togo over the weekend after security forces moved against protesters. Opposition has accused the government of using what it called “regime soldiers” it says opened fire on the demonstrators.

At least two persons were killed in clashes between Togo’s security forces and protesters.

Authorities reported finding a dead protester in Lome with an open wound in his left eye that indicated a bullet entry. Another dead body was also reported, this time with no bullet wounds.

The protests intensified after the government called for parliamentary elections to be held in late December.  Opposition is against the polls.  It has demanded reforms of the national electoral commission, and a two-term limit for presidents.

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Cameroon Law Graduates-Turn-Musicians Sing For Peace

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Cameroon Law Graduates-Turn-Musicians Sing For Peace

Two Cameroonian Law graduates, who are now musicians, have been traveling through the country’s English-speaking regions singing messages of peace they believe will touch the rebels and help end the separatist conflict there.

The singers started their group in October when they both lost family members and friend in the secessionist struggle in the English-speaking regions.

The duo sing in both English and French reminding people about the grave repercussions of war, and urging all sides to embrace peace.

The conflict has claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Thousands have been internally displaced, and thousands more have fled, many to neighboring Nigeria.

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