Opening of the first trial of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Another main event in the fight against impunity was the opening on 26
January 2009 of the ICC trial of Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo,
accused of having conscripted and enlisted child soldiers in Ituri, DRC,
between September 2002 and August 2003. This is the first ICC trial to get
underway since its creation in 2002. It is also the first time in the history
of international criminal justice that victims have been given a voice: they
can now participate in the trial proceedings and are no longer considered only
as witnesses.

FIDH is supporting 20 victims in the proceedings before the ICC on the
situation in Democratic Republic of Congo These were the first victims
applications to be accepted by the ICC.

Although the limited nature of the charges against Thomas Lubanga is
disappointing (his militias have been accused of other serious crimes,
including homicide, sexual crimes and looting), FIDH wishes to remind that this
is also the first in a series of trials that may have a deterrent effect and
thus contribute to the prevention of conflicts in the region.

To learn more: FIDH

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