The witness interference case against Jean-Pierre Bemba, his lawyer and another at the International Criminal Court begun on Tuesday.. Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, in her opening remarks said, “Our decision to commence these proceedings was to ensure that those who seek to pervert the course of justice before this Court are themselves brought to justice. One should not derive benefits from the commission of his own crimes. And impunity leads to more criminality.” The witness interference case is the first to be brought before the ICC. The Prosecutor further emphasized that, “This is an important trial, and one that I hope will fulfil the rightful expectations of all victims of atrocity crimes that come before this Court in the fair and just adjudication of their causes and the integrity of the Court’s proceedings.” “My hope is that this trial will deter similar occurrences in other cases in the future, and thus ensure victims are not deprived of their right to see justice done through its proper and unimpeded administration,” she added. The case was heard before Trial Chamber VII of the court, composed of presiding judge Bertram Schmitt, judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and judge Raul Pangalangan. The four other accused are: Aimé Kilolo-Musamba, Bemba’s lead defense counsel; Jean-Jaques Mangenda Kabongo, also part of Bemba’s defense team, Fidèle Babala Wandu, a member of the DRC parliament and deputy secretary general of Bemba’s Movement for the Liberation of Congo; and Narcisse Arido, a defense witness in the case. The four are accused of offences against the administration of justice in connection with witnesses’ testimonies. The five men face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a fine if convicted of intimidating or manipulating witnesses – a recurrent problem faced by the ICC in other cases as well. “The principles of fairness and justice for which this institution was established have to be protected,” said the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. The Pre-Trial Chamber has issued three arrest warrants against three Kenyans — Walter Barasa,Paul Gicheru and Philip Bett — for alleged witness tampering in the ongoing case againstWilliam Ruto and Joshua arap Sang.