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Lubanga Verdict A Victory for Humanity: ICC

March 16, 2012 · 

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Lubanga Verdict A Victory for Humanity: ICC

Convicted: Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga awaits his verdict in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Picture: AP

The conviction of Congolese war criminal Thomas Lubanga is a victory for humanity, Luis Moreno Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), said on Thursday.

The Lubanga guilty judgment was the first verdict in the ICC’s ten-year history. Moreno Ocampo said it was difficult to unite the world for Lubanga because he “committed crimes in a region called Ituri, and no one cares about Ituri.”

“With the verdict, the ICC showed the world what it is capable of — to track down and try committers of crimes against humanity and genocide,” he added.

The prosecutor said the ICC should now arrest Bosco Ntaganda, who is the number three officer in Lubanga’s militia and a general in the Congolese army. Ntaganda was indicted by the ICC in 2006 for war crimes and using children under the age of 15 to fight and commit atrocities.

“After reviewing all the evidence, we found there is enough evidence to add the charges of rape and murder against Bosco Ntaganda,” Moreno Ocampo said.

Thanking Congolese president Joseph Kabila for his strong commitment and support, the Argentinian prosecutor said many children lost out on education due to Lubanga’s crimes.

“It is important to discuss how to integrate the issue of child soldiers into school education. Our kids should know what skills are needed to avoid violence and what else we should do to prevent these crimes. That’s a challenge.”

Moreno Ocampo welcomed a recent social media campaign by the U.S. NGO Invisible Children to call for the capture of Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

However, he said Kony should be arrested because the ICC has issued an arrest warrant, not merely because young people in California are demanding it. “Kony was the first indicted by the ICC and he is still committing crimes in the Central African Republic,” Moreno Ocampo added.

“People understand you have to get together against mass atrocities. We know that a new world is coming. As a court we are happy to serve this new world in making clear there is no more impunity for mass atrocities.”

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