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Lubanga Trial: Week 16 in Review

The trial resumed on Tuesday, May 26, with the continued testimony of the prosecution’s witness from the week before in a closed session.  Judge Adrian Fulford explained that while the closed proceedings may be “irritating” the Court must ensure the safety of witnesses, “This court has very important protective responsibilities for witnesses who appear before us,” Fulford said.

A witness told the Court on Wednesday that he had seen “hundreds” of children being trained as soldiers in the UPC camps and that after the UPC controlled Bunia, the capital of the Ituri Province in the DRC, the UPC increased its use of child soldiers. “Every day that I went to the headquarters of (the) UPC, I saw military training (of children) going on. The person who was head of training in Lubanga’s army, who was at the core, was Bosco Ntaganda.” Bosco Ntaganda is a UPC commander, for whom the ICC has issued an arrest warrant.

The witness further testified on Thursday that Lubanga was the “political leaderof the army” and that there was “no other person above him to command the army.”  The witness continued that after seeing a child soldier being reprimanded for crying for his mother, the witness was “particularly affected” while other commanders showed “no remorse” for the child.

On Friday, the same witness explained that when taking children from the streets of Bunia, there was no age restriction and that children as young as five were taken to be part of the UPC. He also explained why UPC commanders prefer children to adults as soldiers, “They obeyed the orders of their commanders and that they would try to mimic the heroes they see in films,” he said. “They were more determined and active in combat.”

This post was created by Kate Davey through sourcing from the reporting of Wairagala Wakabi for lubangatrial.org

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Filed under: Congo, Intl Criminal Ct, Lubanga Trial, , , , , ,

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