The Hague - Former Congolese president Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo will not be released pending the beginning of his trial for war crimes, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on Thursday.
Bemba, 47, is charged with five counts of war crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) 2002 and 2003.
Last month the trial chamber had decided to release Bemba conditionally, ruling that he was unlikely to commit "the same or related crimes."
However, the trial chamber deferred implementation of its decision pending information on into which state Bemba would be released, and the conditions attached.
The prosecution argued Bemba should be detained until the trial due to the serious nature of the charges.
Bemba became vice-president of Congo in 2003 and previously was president of the Congo Liberation Movement (MLC), a rebel group that fought in the Democratic Republic of Congo's 1998-2003 war.
He is accused of leading MLC-troops in a campaign of murder, torture and rape in the CAR.
Arrested by the Belgian authorities on May 24, 2008, he was transferred to the ICC detention centre in The Hague on July 3, 2008 and first heard at the ICC on July 4.
In a pre-trial hearing on January 12, the ICC determined Bemba could be prosecuted by the UN-sponsored court.
Operating under the auspices of the United Nations, the ICC was established by the Statute of Rome in 1998, an international agreement signed by 106 countries.
Since it began operating in 2002, the ICC has investigated war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic and Darfur. (dpa)
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