“The initial appearance of Aime Kilolo Musamba, Fidele Babala Wandu and Jean-Pierre Bemba is scheduled for 27 November,” the Hague-based court said in a statement on Monday.
Bemba and his aides are suspected of being “part of a network for the purposes of presenting false or forged documents and bribing certain persons to give false testimony in the case against Mr Bemba,” the ICC said.
The chairman of Bemba’s Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) said Sunday that Bemba’s lawyer Kilolo was arrested at Brussels airport, while Wandu — Bemba’s former private secretary — was arrested in Kinshasa.
The arrests were confirmed by the ICC who added that two others — member of Bemba’s defence team Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo and Narcisse Arido, a defence witness had also been taken into custody.
They are the first arrests on charges of witness tampering in a case tried by the ICC.
Wandu was flown to The Hague late Sunday where he and Kilolo were now in the ICC’s custody, the ICC said.
Kabongo and Arido “will be surrendered to the court only upon the completion of the relevant national proceedings in the Netherlands and in France,” where they were arrested, the court added.
Bemba faces three war crimes counts and two counts of crimes against humanity before the ICC, the world’s only permanent independent court set up in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes.
The case relates to widespread atrocities committed by Bemba’s DR Congo-based MLC troops in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003.
His troops allegedly murdered, raped and pillaged after Bemba sent them into the country in late 2002 to help put down a coup against then Central African president Ange-Felix Patasse.
Bemba has been detained by the ICC since 2008.
He was served with an arrest warrant in connection with the latest charges at the ICC’s detention unit, situated in a seaside suburb of The Hague.