Former Congolese warlord to stand trial

March 18th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by admin  

Kinshasa, March 18 (Xinhua) Trial of former Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga will start June 23 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, the Netherlands, according to reports. A statement issued Monday by the ICC said the trial will be the first for the court, which was set up in 2002 to try war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Lubanga, 46, will be charged with “abducting children under the age of 16,” and forcing them to participate in attacks by the armed wing of his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), during wars that ravaged the eastern district of Ituri from September 2002 to August 2003.

Germain Katanga and Mathieu Nguzolo, two other warlords accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ituri, were transferred to the ICC in the Netherlands in October 2007 and January 2008 respectively, soon after they integrated their militias into Congo’s armed forces in the framework of the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and reinsertion programme.

From 1999, Ituri district which is rich in natural resources, was rocked by clashes between the militias belonging to Hema and Lendu ethnic groups.

According to humanitarian organizations, the inter-ethnic fighting in the district between militias over control of gold mines and other natural resources killed some 60,000 people.

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