Lubanga: judges deliberate first ICC judgement

31 August 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Did Thomas Lubanga Dyilo systematically recruit children under the age of 15 as soldiers or did prosecutors recruit children to lie so that the former Congolese rebel leader will be convicted? That's the question three judges will deliberate on in the coming months. They will hand down the International Criminal Court’s first judgement.

"Throughout the course of this trial ... it has been impossible for me to recognise myself within the context of the actions ascribed to me and the intentions attributed to me," says Thomas Lubanga. Dressed in a dark suit and tie, ‘Papa Lubanga’ denied that to the children in his movement that he was “some sort of semi-god whose praise was chanted during training and during the visits he made to the camps.” It was a rare moment when he “expressed his 'feelings'” since he was flown from Kinshasa to The Hague in 2006.

Lubanga is the first detainee at the permanent court that brings to justice the worst human rights abusers. Every phase in the trial has been historic. So were closing arguments last week. The 92 year-old former Nuremberg prosecutor Bejamin Ferencz concluded the presentation of the prosecutor’s case against Lubanga.

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