The Coalition for the ICC is pleased to bring you the latest information related to the guilty verdict in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the first trial at International Criminal Court (ICC), on Wednesday 14 March 2012. Below you will find Coalition member statements, articles quoting Coalition members, as well as related news and opinion.
The day after the verdict, 15 March 2012, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo gave a press conference related to the Lubanga case. The United States issued a statement upon Lubanga's conviction, as did the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom and France. United Nations bodies also welcomed the verdict, including UNICEF, the UN Security Council and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
The 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 the hearing. Lubanga has yet to be sentenced but
a scheduling order
has been issued concerning the timetable for sentencing and victims' reparations. The Coalition press release on the Lubanga verdict is available here and statements previously released by Coalition members are available here. For more information on the ICC investigation in DRC or on the work of the Coalition visit coalitionfortheicc.org
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Coalition members media statements and op-eds
Criminal responsibility of Thomas Lubanga opens door to victims' reparations, (La Responsabilite Penale De Thomas Lubanga Ouvre La Porte Aux Reparations Des Victimes), FONDATION CONGOLAISE POUR LA PROMOTION DES DROITS HUMAINS ET LA PAIX (FOCDP), 17 March 2012 (In French)
Press release on ICC verdict in Lubanga case, (Communiqué de presse sur le verdict de la CPI dans l’affaire Lubanga), SYCOVI, 15 Mars 2012 (In French)
"The Congolese Foundation for the Promotion of Human rights and Peace welcomes with satisfaction the recognition of the criminal responsibility of Mr. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo by the International Criminal Court Wednesday 14 March 2012 in The Hague. He has been recognized as the co-author of the war crimes of conscription and recruitment of minors in the army and to have used them in hostilities from September 2002 to August 2003, during the internal armed conflict in Ituri. [...]" (Informal translation)
“The Synergy of the Congolese NGOs for the Victims (SYCOVI) is pleased and proud, in the name of all the Congolese victims, of the verdict that the ICC has just returned in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. This verdict is a victory for justice, human rights and the social harmony, and is a motive for satisfaction and enjoyment for the Congolese people.. […]” (Informal translation)
Fear and Anticipation in Ituri Ahead of the ICC’s First Verdict, International Refugee Rights Initiative, 13 March 2012
“[…] Those who have worked with the Court are concerned that victims and intermediaries (individuals who worked with the Court but were not formally staff) and others generally supportive of the Court may be at particular risk in the event of a conviction. There is concern that there might be temptation to strike out against the Court and those who have supported it in revenge. In the event that Lubanga is released, on the other hand, there would be less interest on the part of Lubanga supporters in attacking the Court and those viewed as associated with it. Those who do not support Lubanga are deeply concerned about the prospect of his release. Although it is laudable that the independence of the Court appears to be viewed with greater credibility, attention needs to also be paid to the opinions and views of those that do not support Lubanga, particularly concern about the impact of an acquittal or light sentence on the promotion of justice in Ituri and conflict dynamics more generally.[…]”
Lubanga trial: ASF welcomes the first judgment of the International Criminal Court, Avocats Sans Frontières, 14 March 2012
[...] “The acknowledgement of Mr Lubanga’s culpability by the ICC is a clear message that such acts will not go unpunished”, ASF Executive Director Francesca Boniotti declared with satisfaction following the judgment. “This decision is also a victory for the victims, as their voice is now heard and their suffering has been acknowledged”. From the beginning of the enquiry leading up to the “Lubanga” trial, ASF’s intervention alongside Congolese associations has been in helping to identify child soldier victims, explaining to them what is at stake through their participation in the trial, and in providing the assistance necessary to file application for participation to the trial. ASF has also ensured the intervention of lawyers and has put everything in place to ensure the safety of the victims [...]."
ICC Asked Tough Questions by Historic First Judgment, by Paul Seils, vice president of the International Center for Transitional Justice and former head of Analysis Section of the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC, ICTJ, 19 March 201
"After three years on trial and a total of seven in detention, Thomas Lubanga gained the dubious notoriety of becoming the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. In a landmark decision for international justice that affirms the protections granted to children in wars around the world, Lubanga was found guilty for his part in a common enterprise recruiting children and using them in his militia that fought in the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 2002 and 2003. The conviction of a man who deliberately used young children in a bloody war ought to be an occasion for reflection on his crimes. At the same time, the judgment raises questions about the work of the court itself, including the length of pre-trial detention and trial, as well as aspects of the prosecution’s performance. [...]"
ICC Conviction a Step Forward for International Justice, Human Rights First, 16 March 2012
ICC Convicts Lubanga in First Ever Verdict, AMICC, 14 March 2012
"[...] This verdict is a major step forward for the nascent tribunal, which has often been disregarded by the international community. Human Rights First was a driving force behind the creation of the ICC, which started operating in 2002. The world’s first permanent international criminal tribunal, it has jurisdiction over human rights abuses of the highest magnitude including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Yesterday’s conviction demonstrates its capacity to hold accountable perpetrators of atrocities."
“[…] The Chamber ultimately withdrew the testimonies of three victims and six witnesses, holding that the evidence they presented was unreliable. The Judge's strict guidelines regarding evidence is a clear example of due process enforcement and a commitment to ensure a fair trial. As this was the first trial by the ICC, the procedural diligence required of the Office of the Prosecutor is likely to set precedents for the future. […]”
Crimes of sexual violence and the Lubanga Case: Interview with Patricia Viseur Sellers, FIDH, 16 march 2012
“Interview with Patricia Viseur Sellers, international criminal lawyer, former Legal Advisor for Gender and a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [...] "Crimes of sexual violence were not charged. Such accusations were certainly within the purview of the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor could have brought charges related to sexual violence. Under the ICC Statute, enslavement, rape, torture, sexual slavery and inhuman acts are defined as crimes against humanity. In the Lubanga case, charges were brought under Article 8, war crimes, and as such could have included charges of torture, rape, sexual slavery or outrages upon personal dignity. […]”
“[…] “The ICC’s decision is an important first step toward ending global impunity, and the conviction makes it clear that the use of children in military operations constitutes a war crime. This should send a signal to others engaged in similar activities that they too will be held accountable,” state Wanda M. Akin and Raymond M. Brown, Legal Representatives for victims in the case against President Bashir and the co-founders of the International Justice Project (IJP).
“The IJP is pleased with this decision and views it as another step toward victory for the victims in their long pursuit of justice.” […]”
The RtoP and the ICC: Complementary in Prevention, Assistance and Response, ICRtoP, 14 March 2012
U.S. Pressure Needed to End Impunity in the Congo, by Sharanjeet Parmar, DRC program director, International Center for Transitional Justice, 13 March 2012
Rural Women and Girls of Eastern Congo Seek Justice as World Celebrates International Women’s Day, WITNESS, 8 March 2012
Justice under a tent in Congo, by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, 6 March 2012
Fighting impunity in Congo: Trying soldiers domestically for crimes against humanity, by Michelle Faul, Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, 6 March 2012
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Coalition members quoted
Can the ICC deter other despots?, Al Jazeera,15 March 2012
“[…] "This verdict will be seen as one the most important advances in international criminal law in all of history. This is new system of international criminal justice that is starting to make an impact on middle-sized democracies and soon other countries will have to opt to join the ICC - but not on the basis of exceptionalism but with equalness." William Pace, convenor of the Coalition for the ICC [...]"
Bukeni Waruzi of WITNESS Responds to Guilty Verdict of Former Rebel Leader Thomas Lubanga at the ICC, The Sacramento Bee, 15 March 2012
"Long-time human rights advocate Bukeni Waruzi, Program Manager for Africa and the Middle East at WITNESS, reacted positively to the guilty verdict of former rebel leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo announced at the International Criminal Court (ICC) yesterday. "I'm so proud today to see that the work that WITNESS and AJEDI-Ka carried out in the Congo, advocating for the rights of children not to be used as soldiers, has paid off," Bukeni said following the verdict. [...] Several of the videos have been used as evidence against Lubanga, who was found guilty of recruiting and using children under the age of 15 for active duty on the frontlines of combat during July 2002 and December 2003. The videos are available here."
DR Congo's Lubanga found guilty by ICC, Al Jaazeera, 14 March 2012
“[…] Carla Ferstman, director of Redress, a London based human rights organisation, said the ruling was an important one that might help discourage the use of child soldiers. "We hope that this will have a deterrent effect in the DRC, the rest of Africa, Asia, and elsewhere," she said. The children were taken to military training camps, where they were beaten and drugged. Girls among them were used as sex slaves, prosecutors told the court. In his ruling, the judge noted there was a lot of evidence relating to the rape and sexual violence against the girls that were conscripted into the army. However, he said he was unable to make any ruling on this because the prosecution had not included these charges when it initially filed its case. Ferstman said rights activists were "disappointed" that no conviction had been made for the extensive sexual violence. […]”
Rights groups hail DR Congo warlord conviction, AFP, 14 March 2012
“[…] The verdict sends "a very strong message against those who commit these crimes, it's a sign that impunity does not exist any longer," Human Rights Watch's international justice officer Geraldine Mattioli. Amnesty International's Michael Bochenek said Lubanga's conviction, the court's first, "shows the ICC can bring the world's worst offenders to justice for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes". And Sunil Pal of the non-government groups' Coalition for the International Criminal Court, said the ruling "shows that these type of crimes will not be tolerated anymore. It is a very important decision for the victims." […] Bochenek said Amnesty "remains disappointed that the ICC's prosecutor did not pursue allegations of other crimes committed... under Lubanga". "The prosecutor's office must review its limited investigation strategy adopted in the Lubanga case... lessons need to be learned for future cases." Alpha Sesay, international legal officer at the Open Society's Justice Initiative, said the verdict would send a strong message to others who use child soldiers, including Uganda's Joseph Kony. […] "This judgment will have an effect in Ituri (in the DRC). It will have the same effect in Uganda," Sesay said.”
ICC Shows Teeth for First Time with Lubanga Ruling, by Gabe Joselow, VoA, 14 March 2012
“[…] There is also the question of what impact the verdict will have in the DRC, said Thierry Vircoulon, the Central Africa Director for International Crisis Group.“It's a victory for the ICC, it's definitely good news," said Vircoulon. "I don't know if this will impact much on Congolese politics, but it's definitely good news for international justice.” “At the beginning [Bosco Ntaganda] was very careful and kept a low profile but of course, as time goes by, he's less and less careful and more and more confident about the protection of the Congolese authorities," he said. "The ICC decision today may make him feel less confident.” […] Neela Ghoshal, East Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch, said the Lubanga verdict is an encouraging sign that the international justice system works, where the country courts fall short. There have been only people -- two murder convictions for the post-election violence in Kenyan courts and that's in spite of the fact that there are over 1000 victims," said Ghoshal. "So I think its a sign that victims have somewhere to go that their voices can be heard and if that won't be in Kenya then that will be internationally as was the case with the Congolese.” […]”
Historic verdict condemns Congolese warlord, by Anthony Deutsch, Reuters, 14 March 2012
“[…] In the eastern Congolese city of Goma, Sharanjeet Parmar of the human rights group the International Center for Transitional Justice, said: "The result is important for the ICC as Lubanga is its first trial. But more importantly for the DRC in terms of fighting the culture of impunity, because very few people who're accused of war crimes are brought to justice." Local people, she added, were eager now to see some form of reparation made for their suffering - as well as Bosco Ntaganda, a general indicted along with Lubanga, handed over to the ICC. "His continued liberty is actually a threat to peace," Parmar said. "It's important that he's handed over in light of the fact he is still implicated in ongoing violations." […]”
Congo-Kinshasa: Lubanga Verdict 'A First Step', IRIN, 14 March 2012
“[…] "Finding him [Lubanga] guilty is good news for Congo and for the people of Ituri. It shows that impunity can be stopped and is not tolerated by the international community," Marc Andre Lagrange, a senior analyst for central Africa with the International Crisis Group, told IRIN. […] "The UPC is no longer a militia group; it is also not so powerful as a political party nowadays." In 2011, for example, Lagrange noted that General Kisembo, a former UPC general, had been killed during his arrest by the DRC army, the FARDC, in Bunia, "showing that Kinshasa will not tolerate any more rebellions in Ituri". Lagrange added that "the condemnation of Lubanga is a strong reminder that Bosco Ntaganda [Lubanga's successor at the UPC], is still acting freely as a FARDC general in Goma." […] "This verdict [for Lubanga] should not be an excuse to ignore other grave crimes committed by the UPC and other armed groups in Congo, and it underscores the importance of prosecuting others for a fuller range of serious crimes, including Ntaganda," said Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, the international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement. HRW added that "the ICC guilty verdict against Lubanga should be a stark warning to Joseph Kony, who continues to send children into combat". […]”
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News and opinion
Lubanga Decision Roundtable, Opinio Juris, March 2012
Transfer Ntaganda to ICC, civil societies tell government, The Monitor, 19 March 2012
After ten years, the ICC gives its first verdict. Now what?, The Economist, 17 March 2012
ICC: Prosecutor asked Kabila to hand over Ntaganda to the ICC, (CPI: le procureur Luis Moreno demande à Joseph Kabila de livrer Bosco Ntaganda), Radio Okapi, 16 mars 2012 (In French)
Congolese fighters want amnesty, Al Jazeera, 16 March 2012 (Video)
Thomas Lubanga convicted: Ambiguous International Justice, (Thomas Lubanga jugé coupable : justice internationale ambiguë), Rue 89, 15 mars 2012 (In French)
On Home Ground, Lubanga Verdict Falls Flat, by Melanie Gouby, IWPR,15 March 2012
Rwanda: ICC/ Lubanga - World Hails ICC Verdict On Child Soldiers, Hirondelle News, 15 March 2012
Congo (DRC): Lukewarm response to guilty verdict for DRC warlord, by Emmanuel Chaco, IPS, 15 March 2012
Judges Criticize Prosecutors after Conviction of Warlord Lubanga, Daily Beast, 15 March 2012
Hague prosecutor seeks 30 years for Congo warlord, by Anthony Deutsch, Reuters, 15 March 2012
What Went Wrong During the Lubanga Trial, by Patrick Wegner, Justice in Conflict, 14 March 2012
Bosco 2012: While We Hunt Kony, Another Indicted War Criminal Lives a Life of Leisure, by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, 14 March 2012
Ten years, $900m, one verdict: Does the ICC cost too much?, by Jon Silverman, BBC, 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.