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Alexis Thambwe Mwamba

27.07.2020 ( Last modified: 24.03.2021 )
TRIAL International reminds its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

FACTS

During the Second Congolese War (1998-2003), Alexis Thambwe Mwamba was a member of the rebel group Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (Movement for the Liberation of Congo, or RCD) led by Jean-Pierre Bemba.

In October 1998, a plane from the company Congo Airline was shot down with 50 persons on board. The RCD, through the voice of Thambwe Mwamba, claimed responsibility for the attack that caused the plane crash.

Thambwe Mwamba explained that the rebels had shot the plane because it was transporting pro- Kabila soldiers and weapons. However, the 50 people on board were civilians (mainly women and children) and crew members.

 

LEGAL PROCEDURE

An initial hearing took place on 24 October 2019 at the Investigative Chamber. The hearing was postponed in order to respond to the defense brief.

The prosecution argues that Belgium is not competent to investigate the case, as the accused does not have his main residence in Belgium.

In June 2017, a complaint for war crimes and crimes against humanity was filed in Belgium against Thambwe Mwamba by several families of the victims and the Ligue congolaise contre la corruption.

On 4 September 2018, Thambwe Mwamba was heard by the investigative judge regarding his involvement in the crimes.

 

DECISION

On 9 January 2020, the Indictments Chamber of the Brussels Court of Appeal declared the public action against Alexis Thambwe Mwamba inadmissible, due to the lack of territorial jurisdiction of the Belgian courts. An appeal was lodged and rejected by the Supreme Court on 10 April 2020. This case is therefore definitively closed.

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