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DR Congo warlord convicted in first ICC verdict

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Ndallo, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Ndallo

    Ndallo JF-Expert Member

    Mar 14, 2012
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    Congolese warlord convicted in first ICC verdict


    Congolese militia boss Thomas Lubanga sits in the International Criminal Court at the Hague as he waits for a verdict to be given on his trial for warcrimes on March 14, 2012. Lubanga was found guilty of crimes of conscription and enlisting children, the court's first verdict since its launch a decade ago. Photo/AFP

    By AFP
    Posted Wednesday, March 14 2012 at 18:13

    The International Criminal Court on Wednesday convicted Congolese militia chief Thomas Lubanga of war crimes for conscripting children into his rebel army, the tribunal's first ever verdict.
    Lubanga, 51, was found guilty in The Hague of abducting children as young as 11 and forcing them to fight and commit atrocities in a bloody war in a gold-rich region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    Rights groups hailed the judgment, saying it sent a strong message to those who force young children to kill -- including Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony, now the target of an international online activist campaign.

    "Today's verdict will give pause to those around the world who commit the horrific crime of using and abusing children, both on and off the battlefield," said Amnesty International's Michael Bochenek.

    Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, who is funding a public information campaign in the DRC about the trial, witnessed the verdict in court and said she hoped it would "provide some measure of comfort for the victims".

    "It sends a strong message against the use of child soldiers," the actress, director and rights activist added in a statement after watching proceedings from the front row of the public gallery.

    A decade after the ICC was launched, presiding Judge Adrian Fulford read its first verdict, finding
    Lubanga was guilty of "conscription and enlisting children under the age of 15 and used them to participate in hostilities".

    Prosecutors told the court that militia under Lubanga's control had abducted children as young as 11 from homes, schools and football fields to serve as soldiers, and that young girls were used as sex slaves.

    In closing arguments last year, one prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, told the court child soldiers were "used to rape and pillage" and said: "Those who have no visible scars on their body keep the scars that will remain within."

    Lubanga -- thought to be the founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), and chief commander of its military wing -- was sent to The Hague in 2006 and put on trial in early 2009.

    The warlord, who has denied the charges against him, will be sentenced at a date yet to be determined, the court said.

    He could face 30 years in jail or, if judges decide the crimes were exceptionally grave, life in prison. Lubanga will remain behind bars at the ICC detention facility in the nearby suburb of Scheveningen.

    Human Rights Watch's international justice officer Geraldine Mattioli told AFP the conviction is "a sign that impunity does not exist any longer".

    Alpha Sesay, international legal officer at the Open Society's Justice Initiative, said the ruling would send a strong message to others who used child soldiers, including Uganda's Kony.

    Kony, leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, has been the subject of an intense online campaign this month to bring him to justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    "This judgment will have an effect in Ituri (in the DRC). It will have the same effect in Uganda," Sesay said.
    During the trial Lubanga's lawyers accused the prosecution of fabricating evidence with the help of intermediaries used to find witnesses and claimed that individuals were paid to give false testimony.

    Judge Fulford rapped the prosecution team, saying it had failed in some instances to verify testimony organised through intermediaries.

    "The prosecution should not have delegated its investigative responsibilities to the intermediaries," the judge said, adding that chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo "should ensure that the risk of a conflict of interest is avoided".

    Moreno-Ocampo was to make a statement Thursday on the case.

    During 204 days of hearings, prosecutors called 36 witnesses, the defence 24, and three testified for victims.

    The ICC has issued four arrest warrants for crimes in the DRC and is investigating seven cases, all in Africa.

    Two militia leaders, Germain Katanga, 33, and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, 41, who fought against Lubanga are now facing trial on similar charges.

    Former UPC chief Bosco Ntaganda, a Lubanga ally, is yet to be arrested to face the court on war crimes charges.http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/Congolese+warlord+convicted+in+first+ICC+verdict+/-/1066/1366414/-/item/0/-/124gj3dz/-/index.html
  2. G

    Gagnija JF-Expert Member

    Mar 14, 2012
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    I think Gen Nkunda has committed more crimes than any other war criminal in DRC. Why is he spared?
  3. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2012
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    Congolese militia boss Thomas Lubanga (C) speaks to a member of his counsel in the International Criminal Court at the Hague as he waits for a verdict to be given on his trial for war crimes on March 14, 2012. Lubanga was found guilty of crimes of conscription and enlisting children, the court's first verdict since its launch a decade ago.



    A file photo taken on August 25, 2011 shows Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga sitting in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. The ICC will hand down judgment in the trial of Lubanga on March 14, 2012 in its first verdict since launching almost a decade ago. Lubanga, 51, faces two counts of war crimes for enlisting child soldiers under 15 to fight for his militia during the bloody five-year war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)


    Thomas Lubanga, a leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), talks to villagers near the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Bunia in this June 5, 2003 file photo.
  4. Roulette

    Roulette JF-Expert Member

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    I think the ICC made an error in this case: they tried him for circonscription and enlisting children when his biggest crime was in fact organizing a genocide in the Hema-Lendu war. Unless they say they will try him again for that I consider this as an organized protection of this criminal at the international level.
  5. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Mar 15, 2012
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    heshima mbele.

    Lets take a step back for a minute and understand the workings of the ICC before passing judgement.
    As it is, the ICC can only adjudicate cases that are 'laid in front' of them...and not what
    should be. So if the charge was the conscription of children and using them to wage war, then
    that's what the case would be about....and not the Hema-Lendu War as you put it.

    Hapa wakubishiwa ni Prosecutor na sio Mahakama. Hata hivyo we also need to be cautious on
    this one because labda Ocampo went around looking for specific evidence to link this guy to
    that war na hakupata. Maybe the links/evidence had been 'lost' under dubious circumstances
    as is the norm in African territories. Inanikumbuisha ile kesi ya Kenya ambapo IPG ali-sevu
    kuhukumiwa maana Ocampo could not establish the chain of command...mainly because the
    government of Kenya refused to cooperate and refused the DC's and PCs from being interrogated.
    All this, when there is video evidence of police shooting innocent protestors in the back while running.
    Polisi wenyewe wanasema the 'shoot-to-kill' orders came from above. Eyewitness accounts also
    fingered the police!...Ocampo alitaka sana kumnasa Brigadier Hussein lakini swala la threshold level
    ikashindikana kwa sababu serikali ya Kibaki alikataa kushirikiana na ofisi ya prosekyuta.

    In such instances, you simply go with what you have. In this case, the confirmation of these charges
    can put Lubanga away for at least 10yrs na a maximum of life imprisonment. Either way the victims have seen
    a ray of justice for what he did. It might not be what we want, but at least tunasonga mbele japo kiduchu!


  6. pmwasyoke

    pmwasyoke JF-Expert Member

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    Ni bahati mbaya ICC hawana adhabu ya kuwakata kichwa watu kama hawa!
  7. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

    Mar 15, 2012
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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  8. TZ biashara

    TZ biashara JF-Expert Member

    Mar 16, 2012
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    Ni vizuri kuwapo kwa ICC na kuwahukumu kwa wale waliohusika na machafuko,lakini mimi bado najiuliza kuhusu hizi hukumu.Kwani sijaona wazungu wanaofahamika duniani kwa kufanya au kuruhusu mauaji ktk nchi za watu kama Iraq,Afghanistan kusimamishwa kizimbani na wanajulikana walipo tena wanakula kuku tu bila hata wasiwasi.Hivi watu wabaya wapo Africa tu jamani kwanini AU hawaingilii kati jamani au ndio wanaogopa wataGadafiwa?