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Press release

ICC hands down first-ever verdict

Thomas Lubanga found guilty

Published: 15 March 2012 Modified: 15 March 2012

The International Criminal Court in The Hague on 14 March handed down its first-ever verdict. Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga was found guilty of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities.

Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided unanimously that Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is guilty, as a co-perpetrator, of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003.

It is the first verdict issued by an ICC Trial Chamber. At present, 14 other cases are before the Court, three of which are at the stage of trial.

The present war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities were committed in the context of an internal armed conflict that took place in the Ituri (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and involved the Force patriotique pour la libération du Congo (Patriotic Force for the Liberation of the Congo) (FPLC), led by Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, against the Armée Populaire Congolaise and other militias, including the Force de résistance patriotique en Ituri.

A common plan was agreed by Mr Lubanga Dyilo and his co-perpetrators to build an army for the purpose of establishing and maintaining political and military control over Ituri. This resulted in boys and girls under the age of 15 being conscripted and enlisted, and used to participate actively in hostilities.

About the ICC

The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression.

Read more about this and other cases on the website of the International Criminal Court

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