THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Congolese lawyer has made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court on charges of conspiring to present false evidence in the defense of former Congo vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo was not required to enter a plea when he appeared in court Thursday morning.

His lawyer, Jean Flamme, says an independent prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the case because it is too closely linked to Bemba's ongoing trial for the court's prosecution office to be considered impartial.

Bemba and three other suspects are accused along with Mangenda Kabongo of interfering with witnesses and presenting false evidence in Bemba's trial on charges of commanding rebels who committed murder, rape, and pillaging in the Central African Republic.