June 8, 2018 / 5:34 PM / 8 months ago

Congo gov't says Jean Pierre Bemba has the right to return home

FILE PHOTO: Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo in the Hague, the Netherlands, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/JERRY LAMPEN/Pool/File Photo

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese politician and former warlord Jean Pierre Bemba has the right to return home once the International Criminal Court releases him, Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Friday.

The global court on Friday overturned Bemba’s war crimes conviction and 18-year prison sentence for alleged atrocities carried out by troops under his control in neighbouring Central African Republic in 2002-2003, meaning he could be released in a matter of days.

“There’s not even any question over it,” Mende told Reuters by telephone. “Do you know of any other country where a Congolese citizen is supposed to live? All Congolese are free to live in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo)”

Reporting by Amedee Mwarabu; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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