Court bars Congo ex-VP Bemba as presidential candidate

September 03, 2018 - 4:51 pm

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former Congolese Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, a top opposition figure, has been definitively barred as a presidential candidate in December's election.

Congo's Constitutional Court late Monday backed the electoral commission's decision that Bemba cannot run because of a pending case at the International Criminal Court.

Bemba became a candidate after ICC appeals judges in June acquitted him of war crimes. The electoral commission, however, pointed out the pending case in which he was convicted of interfering with witnesses, calling it synonymous with corruption.

Congolese law prevents people convicted of corruption from running for the presidency.

In appealing to the Constitutional Court, Bemba's party had urged it to do the right thing "despite evident political pressures."

Opposition parties have accused President Joseph Kabila's government of blocking some top candidates from running.