Landmark Ruling on War Crimes Against Children
The decision makes Lubanga the first warlord to face international justice for using children as weapons of war.
“This is a pivotal victory for the protection of children in conflict,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “This conviction sends a clear message to all armed groups that enslave and brutalize children: impunity will not be tolerated.”
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the former president of the Unions des Patriotes Congolaise, was found guilty of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them as active participants in the conflict in the DRC in 2002 and 2003. Thousands of children, some as young as seven, were recruited and used as fighters, as well as other roles such as sex slaves, porters and cooks.