January 30, 2007
The Independent

Warlord in Dock Over Child Soldiers

First person to be tried by the International Criminal Court

by Daniel Howden and Steve Bloomfield

A Congolese warlord accused of recruiting child soldiers is set to make history by becoming the first person to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

The Hague-based court ruled yesterday there was enough evidence to put Thomas Lubanga, in the dock for recruiting children as young as 10 to fight on the frontline of a war for the control of gold, diamonds and timber in the vast Democratic Republic of Congo. . . .

Mr Lubanga's trial brings an end to a four-year struggle to establish a permanent war crimes court to replace the ad hoc tribunals that have been used to prosecute war criminals in Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The United States fiercely opposed the creation of the ICC, fearing its soldiers and citizens would be the target of what it claimed would be politically motivated prosecutions. But despite Washington's refusal to ratify the international treaty creating the court, 104 countries have signed up and the ICC is now investigating war crimes in Congo, Rwanda and the Sudanese province of Darfur. The court has already issued warrants for members of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and is investigating alleged war crimes in Darfur. . . .


Ian Black and Ewen MacAskill, "U.S. Threatens to Boycott Belgium Over War Crimes Law," Guardian, June 13, 2003

Marc Lacey, "Since '94 Horror, Rwandans Turn Toward Islam," New York Times, April 7, 2004

Robert Fisk, "Trial of the Century," Independent, July 1, 2004

Enver Masud, "Sudan, Oil, and the Darfur Crisis," The Wisdom Fund, August 7, 2004

David Leigh and David Pallister, "The New Scramble For Africa," Guardian, June 1, 2005

Zack Pelta-Heller, "Flight of the Child Soldiers," AlterNet, May 19, 2006

back button