Managing frozen assets at the International Criminal Court: the fallout of the Bemba acquittal

Daley J. Birkett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


On 8 June 2018, more than 10 years after his arrest, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reversed Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo's conviction by the Trial Chamber for crimes against humanity and war crimes, acquitting him of all charges. Soon after the start of his time in detention in The Hague, assets belonging to Bemba were frozen by states across a number of jurisdictions at the request of the ICC. Many of these assets remain frozen, more than 18 months after his acquittal. This article examines the consequences of prolonged asset freezes by the ICC through the lens of the Bemba case, demonstrating the existence of gaps in the legal framework applicable to the management of frozen assets under the ICC Statute system and suggesting possible responses thereto at the domestic and international levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-790
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of International Criminal Justice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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