With the resumption of the Lubanga Trial at the ICC, CSR Director of Research Projects Kate Davey will once again be following the trial closely with summaries, analysis and interviews. The following is a summary of trial activity for the month of January.
On January 7…
Thomas Lubanga’s trial resumed with the testimony of Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, who appeared as an expert witness. Coomaraswamy requested justice for girl child soldiers “regardless of whether or not they took part in direct combat in armed conflict.”
Lead defense lawyer, Catherine Mabille, expressed concern to the Court on January 8 that Lubanga’s case could be weakened as their witnesses may not be able to appear in the order the defense has listed due to passport difficulties.
On January 12…
a witness, whose face and voice was distorted so as to be protected during his testimony, explained that he wanted to testify to tell the Court of the “murders, killings, sexual slavery, and sexual violence” by Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) soldiers in his village. He also requested his village receive reparations for the harm they experienced by Lubanga’s soldiers. This witness is the first of three participating witnesses in the trial to offer testimony and be questioned by his lawyer.
The defense asked the unnamed witness on Tuesday, January 13, how he knew that it was UPC soldiers that attacked his school, conscripted his students and attacked him.
A second participating victim, a former child soldier, testified on January 14 and 15 describing his abduction, the first battle he took part in, in which his friends “died like flies” and how he was tortured by Union of Congolese Patriots while at their camp.
On January 19…
the defense questioned the second victim, who testified at Court last week, about his abduction by the UPC.
The third participating witness in trial, a former child soldier, told the Court that he knew it was UPC soldiers that abducted him by their uniforms. He also told the Court that he had escaped from the UPC during a battle at Mongwalu because he was afraid he would be killed.
On January 27…
the defense opened its case with Catherine Mabille, Lubanga’s lead lawyer, stating the defense will show that the testimonies of the child soldiers brought forth by the prosecution were false and that the defense will request the case be discontinued. “In particular we intend to demonstrate that all the individuals who were presented as child soldiers as well as their parents in some cases deliberately lied before this court. The defense intend to show that six of them were never child soldiers, the seventh lied about his age and the conditions in which he enrolled, and the eighth never belonged to the UPC,” Mabille said. The defense called its first witness, who spent most of his testimony in closed session.
The defense’s first witness testified on January 28, that his son had never been in an army and had not been a child soldier in the UPC even though an unnamed organization had been presenting the boy as a child soldier. It is not known if the aforementioned child was a witness for the prosecution.