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The mission of Child Soldier Relief Foundation (CSR), a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization designated by the Internal Revenue Code, is to advocate on behalf of child soldiers by serving as a central repository of information on all topics relating to the topic of child soldiers.

Lubanga Trial: February in Review

CSR Director of Research Projects Kate Davey reports on the Thomas Lubanga trial for the month of February.

On February 1…

The defense’s first witness testified that his son had lied to the Court when he stated under oath that he was a child soldier in the UPC.  The witness stated that during the period his son said he was with the UPC, the child was actually at home with the father.  The next day, the second witness for the defense testified mostly in a closed session and was advised by Judge Adrian Fulford not to be nervous while testifying. Judge Fulford also chastised the prosecutors for failing to reveal information about defense witnesses to the defense in a timely fashion.

On February 8…

Joseph Maki, a witness for the defense testified that ICC “intermediaries” gave him two hundred US dollars to convince his nephew to lie to the ICC and say he was a child soldier.  The witness’s statements supported the testimony of the defense’s first witness, who is the father of the boy in question.   The next day, Claude Nyéki Django, a defense witness, told the Court that he and other boys had been masqueraded to people the witness did not know as child soldiers.

On February 10…

Django continued his testimony telling the Court that the UPC did not conscript children because the UPC only took children who volunteered to join the armed forces. He further stated that the children could leave training when they wanted and that he knew Lubanga as “very important” and he knew him as a “salesman.”

On February 11…

Claude Nyéki Django finished his testimony in a closed session after he became upset and had to leave Court. Django had started crying in Court on Wednesday when he described watching his mother be killed by the Lendu ethnic group while his siblings and he hid under the bed.

On February 15…

The defense’s fourth witness testified in a closed session and the next day the trial adjourned early due to transcript difficulties within the English transcript.

On February 17…

Defense lawyer Jean-Marie Biju-Duval requested that the Lubanga defense be able to share information with the defense lawyers for Germain Katanga about common witnesses.  Katanga is accused of using child soldiers as part of charges against him including three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes. The prosecution stated that the prosecution in both cases opposes the defense sharing information. The judges said that they will rule on this after they have received the restrictions on information disclosure in both cases.

On February 18…

Judge Adrian Fulford announced the trial will be in recess for two weeks as the defense team needs to go to the Congo for “critical research.” The trial will resume March 3, 2010.

On February 23…

The defense requested that a defense witness testify via a video link as they stated the witness is “extremely vulnerable” and therefore unable to travel to The Hague from her home in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The judges referred the issue to the Victims and Witnesses Unit for evaluation and will decide on this issue after they hear from the VWU.

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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