Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Case of the Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (2012)

2012 Case No. ICC-01/04-01/06 (2012)

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Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Case of the Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (2012)

International Criminal Court
2012 Case No. ICC-01/04-01/06 (2012)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

The International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (Lubanga) (defendant) of war crimes for conscripting children to serve in the Congolese army. Lubanga was president of the Union des Patriotes Congolais/Reconciliation et Paix (UPC/RP) political party for the Congolese district of Ituri. Ituri is rich in natural resources, including the Congo’s most important gold mine. Tensions developed in Ituri over land allocation and natural-resource appropriations, which escalated into armed conflict. The UPC/RP raised an armed militia, the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC), with Lubanga as its commander in chief. From early September 2002 until the end of 2003, the FPLC actively recruited significant numbers of children under 15. The party encouraged families to contribute to the war effort by sending children to military training camps. Some joined voluntarily, although others were forced into service. Lubanga was closely involved in recruitment initiatives and gave speeches encouraging young children to join. Recruits received training, a uniform, and a weapon, then were ordered into front-line combat. Senior FPLC commanders, including Lubanga, also used children under 15 as bodyguards. Lubanga appointed those FPLC officials to their positions and was involved in the takeover of Ituri’s capital in August 2002. As president of the UPC and commander in chief of the FPLC, Lubanga coordinated their activities, planned military operations, and played a critical role in providing logistical support, including weapons and ammunition. An International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor (plaintiff) charged Lubanga with war crimes under the ICC statute. The court affirmed the charges against Lubanga in January 2007 but did not complete trial until five years later in March 2012.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fulford, J.)

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