WOMEN WAR & PEACE | PBS

On Trial for War Crimes, Running for President

July 25, 2011 | Lauren Feeney

Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba is standing trial at the International Criminal Court, accused of leading a militia that raped, murdered and pillaged its way through the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. There’s even been talk of Bemba’s soldiers engaging in cannibalism.

And now the millionaire businessman and former V.P. is running for president. The DRC’s main opposition party named Bemba as its candidate in elections scheduled for November 28.

According to Human Rights Watch, “Congolese law prohibits individuals who have been convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide by an international tribunal from running for office. This does not include individuals accused of such crimes, or on trial at the time of the elections.”

Bemba is currently in ICC custody, and it’s unclear how he plans to run a campaign — let alone a country — from his cell in The Hague.

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