The International Criminal court has acquitted the former Congolese Vice President and Warlord.
“ICC Appeals Chamber decided, by majority, to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo 56, from the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the court said.
A statement by the ICC said Mr Bemba will remain in detention on account of another case in which he has been convicted of offences against the administration of justice, pending a decision of Trial Chamber VII in that case.
In March 2016, Bemba was found guilty on two counts including; Crimes against Humanity – specifically muder and rape while another count is of War crimes (murder, rape and pillaging)
The alleged crimes were committed in neighbouring Central African Republic between October 2001 and March 2003 by the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (“MLC”) troops that were under control by Bemba.
Court had sentenced Bemba on 21 June 2016, to 18 years of imprisonment.
However, Bemba appealed against the sentence.
On Friday, the Presiding judge Christine Van den Wijngaert overturned the court ruling of his sentence.
Judge Van den Wijngaert said that Bemba could not be held responsible for atrocities carried out by troops under his control in neighbouring Central African Republic, and that trial judges had failed to consider the efforts he made to stop crimes once he became aware of them.