Posts Tagged ‘Lubanga’

February 8, 2010

By Wairagala Wakabi

A witness today told the war crimes trial of Thomas Lubanga that intermediaries of the International Criminal Court (ICC) gave him US$200 as payment for convincing his nephew to give false testimony against the accused.

The boy subsequently testified as a prosecution witness and claimed that he was a former child soldier in Lubanga’s militia group, according to evidence heard today and last week. The boy’s father was the first witness called by the defense, and he told court that his son who never served in any armed group had lied to court that he was a fighter with the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), the group Lubanga is alleged to have led.

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting (allAfrica.com), 18 March 2009

Defense lawyers in the trial of accused militia leader Thomas Lubanga on Tuesday questioned conflicting testimonies by a witness who said he was abducted and turned into a child soldier.

The witness, who was not identified, told the International Criminal Court the discrepancies were because he was afraid to tell the truth to investigators when he was first interviewed in an International Red Cross camp in 2005.

Defense lawyer Jean-Marie Biju-Duval noted differences in the witness’s statements in 2005, 2006, 2008, and the testimony he has given so far in court.

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Lubanga’s neighbors split over war crimes trial

The Congolese ex-militia leader is the first man to stand trial at the International Criminal Court. Back home, some defend their native son as simply protecting his people.

With his unseeing eyes, Innocent may not be able to watch the world put his father on trial. But he is convinced what the outcome should be.

Blind since childhood, as he stands in front of what was once his grandmother’s home on the outskirts of Bunia, he says he is certain that his father is not guilty. “I am proud of my father,” Innocent says, quietly. “He is a good man, and I hope that one day I will get to meet him again.”

But the international community has other ideas. A continent away, Innocent’s father, Thomas Lubanga, is the first man ever to stand trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. A former militia leader during northeast Congo’s bloody ethnic wars, he is accused of sending boys and girls younger than his teenage son into battle. At the trial, witnesses have spoken of being abducted and forced to kill when as young as 11. Mr. Lubanga denies the charges.

During the Ituri war, Lubanga led the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), an ethnic Hema militia in the region. From 1999 to 2004 districts and villages across the region fractured along ethnic lines as a half dozen militias from the rival Hema and Lendu communities, supported by the Ugandan and Rwandan armies, fought one another for control of territory and the region’s mineral wealth. In 2005, Lubanga was captured by United Nations peacekeepers in Ituri, before eventually ending up in The Hague.

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