Cabinda: Bembe Released on Preliminary Terms until Next Hearing


The Hague, 04 October 2005 - The initial hearing provided no resolve to the case of Antonio Bento Bembe, as The Hague Court identified too many ambiguities and unanswered questions to reach a final verdict on the matter. Today saw the resumed, and second, round of the case, following the arrest at the VII UNPO General Assembly last June. Again, the Court voiced its dissatisfaction, in stronger terms than previously, with the way this matter has been responded to by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
A two-track, and seeming contradictory, approach by the same government has raised a series of questions. In specific, Judge van Rossum was displeased that his initial request, demanding more clarity about the role played by the MFA in relation to Bembe's visit to the Netherlands, had not been met to a satisfactory degree. The Court posed further questions concerning the nature of the contact between Bembe and the MFA, and identified inconsistencies in the police arrest report vis-à-vis other sources. Several of the more technical details of the case were raised, revolving around the place of arrest, visa-related issues and other particulars.
The Hague, 06 October 2005 - "The critical aspect of this case in its entirety is its potential to adversely affect the peace process. It is thus crucial to see beyond the minutia of the case, and to recognise that it is the political implications that essentially make this matter so decisive, notwithstanding the current political role of Mr. Bembe." UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin asserts. "The arrest of Bembe, as the President of the Cabinda Forum for Dialogue, may compromise the starting procedures of peace talks between Cabinda and Angola. The entire process is at risk, as long as Bembe is trapped in this muddle."
"UNPO expects a prompt and urgent solution to this matter, which will consent Bembe to continue his role in determining the future of the enclave. Furthermore, we believe that the Dutch MFA will continue its commitment to playing a role in relation to international issues of human rights and conflict resolution," Busdachin states in a declaration broadcasted by "Netwerk" in one of the main Dutch public television channels, "Nederland 1" on Thursday 06 October.