Skip to main content

Trial set for Congo militant accused of using child soldiers

  • Story Highlights
  • Militia leader Thomas Lubanga goes on trial January 26, charged with war crimes
  • Prosecutors say Lubanga drafted children under 15 to fight for militia
  • This is first trial by International Criminal Court based in The Hague
  • Court was established in 2002 to try people charged with genocide, war crimes
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- A former militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo will go on trial later this month, charged with drafting children to fight for his militia's military wing. It will be the first trial held by the International Criminal Court.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo sits in the International Criminal Court at the Hague in 2006.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo sits in the International Criminal Court at the Hague in 2006.

The court, based in The Hague, said the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo will begin on January 26.

Lubanga is charged with committing war crimes consisting of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 into the military wing of the Union of Congolese Patriots in the Ituri region. Ituri is in the eastern part of Congo, the volatile African country that has been wracked by civil warfare over the years.

Lubanga is accused of using the children to "participate actively in hostilities in Ituri, from September 2002 to August 2003." He surrendered and was arrested in March 2006.

The International Criminal Court, which started in 2002, was formed to try "persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes." It is based on a treaty joined by 108 countries.

The Lubanga trial comes as the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court recently said his office is paying serious attention to reports of war crimes in Congo. Luis Moreno-Ocampo said his office has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute war crimes in the country.

Along with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the court is investigating war crimes in Uganda, the Central African Republic and the Sudanese region of Darfur.

All About Democratic Republic of the CongoInternational Criminal CourtWar Crimes

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print