The Global Citizen: Lubanga
Today, the International Criminal Court's (ICC) first trial was completed with the sentencing of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to fourteen years in prison. Lubanga, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was found guilty by the Court in March of conscripting child soldiers for use in battle.
This first sentencing is certainly a landmark moment for the ICC. It's good to see the Court complete a trial and ensure that a vicious warlord will be put away, though it's a bit disheartening to see the length of the sentence is shorter than what the ICC Prosecutor had recommended. The prosecution had asked for Lubanga to serve 30 years for his crimes. His sentence is further reduced because the six years he's been in custody will count toward his incarceration, so he will only serve an additional eight years (with the possibility of getting out even sooner due to good behavior).
With all that said, I'm still happy to see some measure of justice done in today's sentencing of Lubanga. I'm proud to see the ICC reach this milestone moment, and I hope this sentence brings some measure of peace to Lubanga's victims and their families. I look forward to a future in which the Court succeeds in putting many other war criminals behind bars where they belong.
March 14, 2012 marks an extraordinary moment in world history. This morning, the International Criminal Court (ICC) completed its very first trial, convicting Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of forcing children to serve as soldiers in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 74 million viewers have watched Invisible Children's Kony 2012 video, calling for the arrest and ICC trial of Joseph Kony. But few are aware that Lubanga, a man as despicable as Kony, has laid the groundwork for the kind of trial that Joseph Kony surely deserves.
During the trial, witnesses detailed how Lubanga and his men forced child soldiers to rape, kill and plunder. Commanders abducted children and forced them to commit terrible acts, including killing their parents - acts designed to cut off the abducted children from their families and communities. Witnesses reported that young girls were abducted by Lubanga's commanders to serve as their 'wives' and sexual slaves. Girls who were raped by commanders faced brutal violence, disease, forced pregnancy, and did not receive adequate medical care when needed.
Witness 229, a former child soldier and one of Lubanga's victims, testified that he was abducted on his way home from school, drugged and forced to travel for days to a military training camp. During training, the children were forced to follow strict disciplinary rules. The witness testified,
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced yesterday that it will release a verdict in the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo on March 14th. This will mark an important milestone for the Court: its first verdict and completed trial since its creation.
Lubanga is accused by the Court of conscripting child soldiers in battle in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He is alleged to be the founder of Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC); the former Commander-in-Chief of the FPLC, and president of the UPC. He is charged with war crimes including enlisting and conscripting child soldiers under the age of 15 into the FPLC. His trial began in January 2009 and concluded last August 2011.
We will update you with further information when the verdict in the Lubanga trial is announced.
It appears that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is still on track to issue a verdict in its first completed trial by early 2012, according to a recent announcement by Court judges.
The trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo wrapped up in August with closing arguments by both defense and prosecution. Lubanga is charged by the ICC with conscripting child soldiers under the age of 15 into battle in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Citizens for Global Solutions will provide updates on the verdict when it is released.
Today and tomorrow, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be hearing closing arguments in the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, accused by the Court of conscripting child soldiers in battle in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This marks an important milestone for the Court: the long-awaited conclusion of the first completed trial since its creation.
Lubanga is alleged to be the founder of Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC); the former Commander-in-Chief of the FPLC, and president of the UPC. He is charged with war crimes including enlisting and conscripting child soldiers under the age of 15 into the FPLC. His trial began in January 2009.
The closing arguments are scheduled to wrap up tomorrow, and a verdict in the Lubanga case is expected early next year.
The Lubanga trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague resumed on January 7th. Thomas Lubanga is the alleged leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPS) militia which was involved in the Ituri region conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2002-2003. The ICC investigation into the situation in Ituri has also led to arrest warrants for Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui who are both in ICC custody, and Bosco Ntaganda who remains at large.
Lubanga has pleaded not guilty to the three war crimes charges against him. The charges include: the enlistment and conscription of children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. Lubanga was the first suspect to be arrested and transferred to the ICC where he currently remains in custody as the trial continues. The prosecution finished presenting their case on July 14, 2009 after calling 28 witnesses over 74 days of hearings. The defense will call around 30 witnesses and the proceedings are expected to last several months.
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