Birthday: November 4, 1962
Age: 57 Years, 57 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
Born in: Équateur
Famous as: Politician
Height: 1.91 m
Spouse/Ex-: Lillian Teixeira
father: Jeannot Bemba Saolona
siblings: Catherine Bemba, Jean-Jacques Bemba
education: ICHEC Brussels Management School
Jean-Pierre Bemba is a political leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo who was involved in a violent power struggle. He is currently undergoing trial in the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He was so hell bent on seizing the power that he founded a rebel group to achieve his objective. He was ultimately able to coerce the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo into a power-sharing agreement and was made one of the four vice presidents in the transitional government. From an early age, he led a very privileged life amongst peers who are severely disadvantaged. His father was not only an extremely successful businessman and self-proclaimed millionaire but also had ties with the reigning dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. When his country had a shift in power Bemba was openly and violently opposed. In response he formed a militant group. His violence eventually coerced his government into forming an agreement and allowing for power-sharing. When presidential elections came around, however, he was not chosen to lead the country. Again violence erupted and eventually his violent supporters caused such a bloody protest that he was escorted out of the country by the United Nations’ forces. A very short time later he was arrested for international war crimes as well as crimes against humanity. Currently, he is still detained and his trial is still ongoing. His first trial was thrown out when Bemba again used intimidation, threats, and bribes to falsify witness testimony in his favor.
Childhood & Early Life
Jean-Pierre Bemba was born on November 4, 1962, in Bokada in Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
His father, Bemba Saolona, was a very successful businessman who was also very close to the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko which resulted in a very priviledged childhood in one of the world’s most disadvantaged and poorest countries.
Tragically, his mother passed when he was still very young and he had trouble forming good relationships with his stepmothers and father.
He pursued his undergraduate education at Boboto College. He then obtained his Master’s from the Catholic Institute of Higher Commercial Studies in Brussels. His degree was in commercial and consular affairs.
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After graduation, Jean-Pierre Bemba moved back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to join his father’s business. He also adopted his father’s closeness with the dictator Mobuto Sese Seko. |
In 1997, Mobuto Sese Seko passed away and a new group seized power. As a result, Bemba went into exile and plotted how to get the power back in his favor.
In 1998, he formed the rebel group, Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), and its armed wing, the Liberation Army of Congo (LAC). The President of Uganda supported his efforts by providing training, equipment, and troops. Bemba was the group’s commander-in-chief.
From 1998 to 2003, MLC and LAC were engaged in a civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The MLC and LAC were also involved in conflicts in the Central African Republic.
Eventually the group’s military pressure caused the new regime to offer a power-sharing peace deal. In 2003, under this deal he became vice-president.
In July 2006, he ran alongside 33 other candidates for Congolese president. He was defeated in the election but he alleged electoral fraud.
On January 19, 2007, he became senator after he failed to win the presidential election. He continued to openly criticize the current administration. His open opposition led to violent encounters between his followers and the government.
On April 11, 2007, he left the Democratic Republic of the Congo to relocate to Portugal in the wake of the violence stemming from his supporters. United Nation forces escorted him out of Congo ostensibly on the health reasons.
In May 2008, Jean-Pierre Bemba was arrested in Brussels. He was charged with two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes during his time as military commander of his groups fighting in the Central African Republic.
On November 22, 2010 his trial began. This is only the third trial ever held at the International Crime Court. The court most usually focuses on gender crimes and sexual violence, both of which he is charged with.
In 2015 the International Crime Court decided that he would need a second trial and issued a second arrest warrant this time for intimidating witnesses and falsifying evidence. It has come to light that during the first trial his lawyers corruptly influenced witnesses in order to falsify evidence.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jean-Pierre Bemba is married to Lillian Teixeira. She currently lives in South Africa and the couple remains dedicated to one another despite his ongoing trial.
During his 2006 campaign for presidency, Jean-Pierre Bemba’s opponents claimed that while fighting in the Central African Republic he engaged in cannibalistic acts. It is rumored that he had eaten pygmies and in fact a representative of the Mbuti pygmies brought up his claim to the UN that his people were hunted down and eaten like game animals.