Trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo:
Alleged founder of Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo(FPLC); Alleged former Commander-in-Chief of the FPLC, since September 2002 and at least until the end of 2003. Alleged president of the UPC.
- Enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of 15 years into the FPLC and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the context of an international armed conflict from early September 2002 to 2 June 2003.
- Enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years into the FPLC and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the context of an armed conflict not of an international character from 2 June 2003 to 13 August 2003.
- The International Criminal Court
- Case information sheet
- International Justice Tribune
- The Lubanga Trial at the International Criminal Court
- Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (TRIAL)
Lawyers for warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, accused of recruiting child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), will open their defence at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday.
By Thijs Bouwknegt, The Hague
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (49) faces counts of war crimes consisting of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the DRC. The trial started on 26 January, 2009. Lubanga has pleaded not guilty.
The defence case, led by Catherine Mabille, is expected to last several months and call around 30 witnesses. The witnesses will be examined by the Defence and cross-examined by the Prosecution.
Expert witnesses and victims
But from Thursday, the ICC judges will first hear the testimony of Mrs Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Children and Armed Conflict. She appears before the ICC upon request of the judges, as well as another expert-witness and three victims-witnesses.
Mrs Coomaraswamy will be testifying as an expert witness on the definition of conscription or enlistment of children, and on the interpretation of the term "using them to participate actively in the hostilities". Following her testimony, over the course of the next week, the court will hear Professor Kambayi Bwatshia, an expert on names and other social conventions in the DRC.
Finally, three victims will express their views and concerns and give evidence in person, as witnesses. Two of them will testify about their alleged recruitment by Lubanga's militia, the UPC (Union des patriotes congolais - Union of Congolese Patriots), when they were under the age of 15 in Ituri and the last one will give evidence on the alleged recruitment of children in Ituri.
Prosecutors say Lubanga's role in the conflict was driven by a desire to maintain and expand control over the eastern Ituri region, one of the world's most lucrative gold-mining areas. Rights groups claim inter-ethnic fighting has killed 60,000 people in Ituri over the last decade.
Prosecutors say his militia abducted children as young as 11 from their homes, schools and football fields and took them to military training camps where they were beaten and drugged. The girls among them were used as sex slaves.
The prosecution wound up its case on July 14 after calling 28 witnesses, including former child soldiers, over 74 days of hearings. The first prosecution witness, a former child soldier, retracted his testimony under Lubanga's constant glare from the dock, forcing the court to examine new ways of shielding witnesses.
103 victims represented by three teams of legal counsel have been authorised to participate in the trial. They have the right to express their position on matters heard before the Chamber and subject to the judge’s authorisation, they may examine witnesses on specific issues.