The Coalition for the ICC is pleased to bring you the latest information related to the today delivery of a guilty verdict in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the first trial at International Criminal Court (ICC). Below you will find information on Coalition media briefings, Coalition member statements and articles quoting Coalition members.
Today's judgment by ICC Trial Chamber I is available here and a summary of the judgment is available here.The ICC has also made available a video and audio summary of today's hearing. Photos from the hearing are available here. A press statement from the ICC Public Affairs Unit is available here, and one from the ICC Office of the Prosecutor is available here. The President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute Ambassador Tiina Intelmann (Estonia) welcomed today's decision in a press statement.
Trial Chamber I issued has also issued a scheduling order concerning timetable for sentencing and reparations arising from today's decision. Also note that the ICC prosecutor will hold a press conference tomorrow, 15 March 2012, at 11.00 at the ICC press briefing room.
Statements on the verdict were also made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton
Coalition media briefings
Immediately after the delivery of the verdict today, the Coalition for the ICC held a media briefing at the seat of the ICC in The Hague. Several Coalition members that have followed the Lubanga trial closely from the outset participated at the briefing, including the International Bar Association, Avocats sans Frontières, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), WITNESS and REDRESS. The Coalition also held a media briefing at the United Nations in New York today, with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Justice Initiative participating. The webcast of this briefing is available here.
The Coalition press release on today's verdict is available here. Informal Coalition summaries of courtroom proceedings of the Lubanga trial are available here. For further background on the Lubanga trial visit the Coalition's Lubanga trial webpage. For more information on the ICC investigation in DRC or on the work of the Coalition visit coalitionfortheicc.org.
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Coalition statements, op-eds
IBA welcomes conclusion of ICC’s first trial; despite procedural hurdles, the Lubanga case is a symbolic achievement for the Court, International Bar Association, 14 March 2012
"The International Bar Association (IBA) today welcomed the verdict in the case of the first suspect to be tried before the International Criminal Court (ICC), Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Calling the judgment a symbolic achievement for the ICC, the IBA says that though hampered by several procedural challenges, the Lubanga case attests to the integrity of ICC proceedings and has made a significant contribution to international justice. Richard Goldstone, Honorary President of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda commented: ‘The Lubanga case is a major achievement for the International Criminal Court. Like all first trials, it was no stranger to procedural challenges and uncertainties as the prosecutor and judges grappled with novel issues, such as victims’ participation. Many of them had no precedent at the ad hoc tribunals. It is a tribute to their efforts, and the fortitude of the defence, that despite major setbacks, every effort was made to ensure that the trial was fair and justice done. Undoubtedly, future international trials will benefit from the jurisprudential foundations and the lessons learnt from the Lubanga case’. [...]"
ICC’s first Trial Judgement, The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, statement by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, 14 March 2012
[...] “The conviction today is very important in demonstrating that no-one is beyond the reach of the law and that militia leaders operating in remote areas can be held accountable. This is important for the people of Ituri, for eastern DRC and for all war-torn countries especially those conflict zones involving child soldiers,” said Brigid Inder, Executive Director of the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice. “The Lubanga trial is the first international criminal trial ever held on the conflict in eastern DRC, and also one of the few international criminal cases in history to charge and convict an individual with acts of enlistment and conscription of child soldiers,” Inder said. “It is too early to be able to digest the entire judgement and the separate and dissenting opinions. We will carefully read and review the full text and publish our analysis shortly but it is an important milestone for the ICC in completing its first case and securing its first conviction,” said Brigid Inder [...]."
Press Statement of Ligue pour la Paix, les Droits de l’Homme et la Justice (LIPADHOJ), Coordination Nationale, 14 March 2012
[...] The League for Peace, Human Rights and Justice (LIPADHOJ) welcomes the verdict of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the case The Prosecutor v. Mr. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [...] LIPADHOJ shares the joy of the victims, who have awaited a long time for justice. That's why many victims, through our channel, were keen to express their relief and satisfaction in these terms: 1. A victim in Bunia: "We had no hope of seeing this "baobab" falling down and we feared he will return triumphantly to Bunia. If this were the case, I would have fled ... "[...]."
NPWJ welcomes milestone of first ICC judgment in the Lubanga case and landmark decision for the protection of children, No Peace Without Justice, 14 March 2012
"[...] Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice: “No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) applaud the first judgement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a milestone in its young history and as a landmark decision for the recognition of children’s human rights, being the first time that the war crime of conscripting, enlisting or using of child soldiers to participate actively in hostilities comes to trial at the ICC. “Today’s decision sends a deterrent and unequivocal message to all those who still conscript, recruit or use children in armed conflict, or who are thinking of doing so. We hope that this trial will contribute to building the political will of all States to ratify and implement the second optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will pave the way toward the raising of the maximum threshold age for the conscription, enlistment or use of children to 18 [...] ."
First ICC trial verdict: Lubanga convicted of war crimes committed in Ituri, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), 14 March 2012
"[...] FIDH and its member organisations in DRC, Association africaine des droits de l’Homme (ASADHO), Groupe Lotus and Ligue des électeurs welcome this historic decision which concludes trial proceedings opened 3 years earlier. "This first conviction by the ICC comes at the end of a pilot trial before the Court which will contribute to defining the practices of this unique and young institution”, said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.“The many lessons learned from these proceedings – including on the rights of the accused to a fair trial, the rights of victims to participate, the protection of witnesses and victims and the role of intermediaries – are already being applied in other trials now underway”. “This trial has contributed to raising awareness about the recruitment and use of child soldiers in DRC, and also in other conflict-affected regions, as war crimes. The conviction of Thomas Lubanga sends a strong signal to the perpetrators of international crimes that they will not escape justice”, said Jean-Claude Katende, President of ASADHO [...] ."
"[...] “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 Michael Bochenek, Director of Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Programme. “It will help to strip away the impunity they have enjoyed for crimes under international law because national authorities have consistently failed to investigate these crimes. This guilty verdict demonstrates that the ICC can step in to bring them to justice.” The recruitment and use of children in armed conflict by foreign and Congolese armed groups continue to this day in the north-east and east of the DRC. The Congolese national army has also used child soldiers. Amnesty International remains disappointed that the ICC’s Prosecutor did not pursue allegations of other crimes committed by the FPLC under Lubanga Dyilo – including crimes of sexual violence against abducted girls, including girl soldiers, and other civilians – potentially denying justice and reparation to many more victims. “The Prosecutor’s office must review its limited investigation strategy adopted in the Lubanga case, especially in light of such decisions precluding victims from participating in trials and obtaining reparation. Lessons need to be learned for future cases,” said Michael Bochenek [...] ."
Who will be next at the ICC after historic Lubanga verdict?, Amnesty International video in English and French, 13 March 2012
Take action - Support UN role in arresting International Criminal Court suspects, Amnesty International, 13 March 2012
The Word on Women - Lubanga: Why the ICC must do better, Widney Brown (senior director of Law & Policy, Amnesty International), TrustLaw, 14 March 2012
ICC: Landmark Verdict a Warning to Rights Abusers - Rebel Leader Guilty, but Co-accused Ntaganda Must be Arrested, Human Rights Watch, 14 March 2012
"The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) guilty verdict against rebel leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for recruiting and using child soldiers in hostilities is a first step in bringing justice to the tens of thousands of children forced to fight in conflicts, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and elsewhere, Human Rights Watch said today. The verdict highlights the need to urgently arrest Lubanga’s co-accused, Bosco Ntaganda, who is currently a general in the Congo army in Goma, eastern Congo, and continues to evade justice. “The verdict against Lubanga is a victory for the thousands of children forced to fight in Congo’s brutal wars,” said Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Military commanders in Congo and elsewhere should take notice of the ICC’s powerful message: using children as a weapon of war is a serious crime that can lead them to the dock.” [...] ."
The International Criminal Court hands down first verdict !, Canadian Centre for International Justice, 14 March 2012
"[...] According to Jayne Stoyles, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ), “The United Nations estimates that tens of thousands of children are being used to commit murder, rape and other horrific acts of violence in conflicts around the world. By assigning Lubanga individual criminal responsibility for recruiting and using child soldiers, this verdict sends a clear signal to others that they too will be brought to account as war criminals.” She went on to note, “This includes Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, who is now widely known -- because of a video that went viral last week -- as being accused of using children to commit atrocities in four countries.” [...] ."
Open Society Justice Initiative Welcomes ICC Lubanga Judgment, Open Society Foundations, 14 March 2012
“ The Open Society Justice Initiative welcomes the first judgment of the International Criminal Court, which found Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a former Congolese militia leader, guilty of recruiting and deploying child soldiers in Eastern Congo. [...] James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said: "The judgment is an important step forward in the worldwide struggle against impunity for grave crimes. Its pointed criticism of the prosecution’s supervision of “intermediaries” further underscores the need for the Court to reform its investigative procedures, and establish clear rules for working with persons other than Court staff to identify and help gather evidence." [...]”
LUBANGA’S VERDICT ONLY FIRST STEP TOWARDS JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS, REDRESS, 14 March 2012
[...] A statement from Carla Ferstman, director of REDRESS: “This is a very positive decision as it shows that the ICC is capable of delivering justice to victims of these horrendous crimes on the ground, who have been awaiting justice and reparations for close to 10 years. This was not an easy case and it wasn‟t at all certain what was going to happen. The Trial Chamber stopped the proceedings on two separate occasions for serious flaws in the prosecution‟s practice relating to the disclosure of evidence. On both occasions, victims in DRC were finding „international justice‟ a hard and long process to swallow. In rendering the summary in Court today, presiding Judge Adrian Fulford also explained some of the problems with the prosecution‟s use of intermediaries, which the Court termed „negligent‟ when referring to the practice of delegating certain investigative responsibilities to local actors; some of the evidence produced in this way was disqualified as tainted. The security situation was certainly highly challenging and the prosecution did not have unlimited resources, but it would seem that its strategy ended up being like Russian roulette.[...]”
Lubanga guilty verdict marks victory for international justice, Citizens for Global Solutions, 14 March 2012
"[...] Don Kraus, CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions and co-chair of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court said, "Lubanga's guilty verdict is a landmark moment in the short history of the Court. For the first time in the history of humanity, nations have come together and established a permanent means of holding tyrants and human rights abusers accountable, while providing a fair system of justice, even for the most heinous crimes. This is how we build a safer, more secure world." The Lubanga decision is a significant marker for the continued development of international law. It has laid the groundwork for the kind of trial that Joseph Kony, another notorious perpetrator of war crimes involving child soldiers, deserves. Kraus stressed, "During the past decade we witnessed the Court mature from a fledgling institution, to one that delivers results, holds mass killers accountable, and helps bring justice to their victims. The precedents set in this case will affect how the ICC administers justice for the rest of this century, if not beyond." [...] ."
Washington Working Group on the ICC (WICC) Letter to Congress, WICC, 14 March 2012
WICC Sends Letter to Congress on ICC Verdict, Julia Bunting, The Global Citizen, 14 March 2012
Super Villains: Before Kony There Was Lubanga, Don Kraus, The Global Citizen, 14 March 2012
First ever ICC verdict a major milestone in the fight against global impunity, Barbara Lochbihler, Green MEP, chair of the European Parliament human rights committee and member of Parliamentarians for Global Action, 14 March 2012
"Today's verdict against Thomas Lubanga is a major milestone in the fight against global impunity. The International Criminal Court has vindicated its existence, since it was the referral by Uganda of Lubanga to the ICC that finally ended his activities. The sentence against Lubanga sends out a far-reaching signal to all those who continue to force children into warfare, underlining that the use of child soldiers is not a national issue but an international crime, which can and will be punished by the international community. The case against Lubanga is a first step towards bringing all those to court who are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today's decision shows that no one can escape justice. The international community must continue to provide the ICC with the financial and political support it deserves. [...] ."
Steps Towards Justice, Frustrated Hopes: Reflecting on the Impact of the ICC in Ituri, International Refugee Rights Initiative, the Association pour la promotion et la défense de la dignité des victims (APRODIVI), 12 March 2012
Long-time human rights advocate Bukeni Waruzi will be attending the verdict of former rebel leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m. The verdict will come eight years after Congolese political leader was taken into ICC custody and more than three years since the start of his trial. For more than 14 years, Bukeni has fought for the rights and rehabilitation of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of which there were an estimated 30,000 children who were awaiting to be demobilized from the armed forces at the end of 2003. Today, there is still an estimated 7,000 child soldiers who remain in government forces and armed groups, most of which are girls. Several of Bukeni’s advocacy films have been used as evidence against Lubanga, who is charged with committing three war crimes between July 2002 and December 2003. Bukeni’s films are available here
DR Congo: Q&A on the First Verdict at the International Criminal Court: The Case of the Prosecutor vs. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Human Rights Watch, 29 February 2012
Briefing Paper: The Trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo at the ICC, Open Society Justice Initiative, March 2012
Lubanga Trial Timeline, Open Society Jusitice Initiative, August 2011
ICC Judges to Deliver Lubanga Verdict on March 14, by Wairagala Wakabi, Lubanga Trial Blog, Open Society Jusitice Initiative, 29 February 2012
Intermediaries and the International Criminal Court: A Role for the Assembly of States Parties, Open Society Jusitice Initiative, December 2011
Thomas Lubanga Trial - Timeline of Victims' Engagement in the Case, REDRESS, March 2012
A Duty to Protect: Justice for Child Soldiers in the D.R.C., WITNESS (video)
The ICC’s Lubanga Trial Nears Close: Will Child Soldiers Receive Justice?, by Bukeni Waruzi, WITNESS 30 August 2011
‘The ICC, gender and child soldiers’, by Brigid Inder, Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice, 21 November 2011
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Coalition members quoted
Rights groups hail DR Congo warlord conviction, AFP, 14 March 2012
ICC Shows Teeth for First Time with Lubanga Ruling, Gabe Joselow, VOA News, 14 March 2012
Congolese militia chief convicted of war crimes in first ever ICC verdict, Al Arabiya, 14 March 2012
DR Congo warlord conviction hailed, SAPA, 14 March 2012
First ICC verdict: Warlord Lubanga guilty, UPI, 14 March 2012
Congolese Thomas Lubanga convicted of war crimes, (Le Congolais Thomas Lubanga reconnu coupable de crimes de guerre), 14 March 2012 (In French)
A Congolese Warlord convicted of child soldiers recruitment, (Un chef de guerre congolais coupable d'avoir enrôlé des enfants), Le Monde, 14 March 2012 (In French)
In a short period of time, the ICC opened important investigations, (En peu de temps, la Cour pénale internationale a ouvert d'importantes enquêtes), Liberation, 14 March 2012 (In French)
Historic verdict condemns Congolese warlord, Anthony Deutsch, Reuters, 14 March 2012
Congo warlord convicted of using child soliders, AP, 14 March 2012
Congo-Kinshasa: Lubanga Verdict 'A First Step', IRIN, 14 March 2012
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Coalition policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts. Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC, P.O. Box 19519, 2500 CM, The Hague, the Netherlands.