ICC to deliver first judgement on war crimes

The International Criminal Court (ICC) says it will on March 14 deliver its first judgment in the war crimes trial of a Congolese man, Lubanga Dyilo, accused of participating in the recruitment of child soldiers.

The court said in a report at the UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday that the judgment would be made in open court.

Mr. Dyilo is accused of having committed the war crimes, along with others, by enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 into the rebel group known as the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo.

He is said to have made the child soldiers to participate actively in hostilities in Ituri district in north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between September 2002 and August 2003.

He was transferred to The Hague, where the ICC is based, in March 2006 after his surrender. A warrant of arrest was issued against him.

According to the report, 14 cases have been brought before the ICC, including the four in trial stage.

It stated that Dyilo’s trial started in January 2009 and that the closing statements were presented by the parties and participants in August.

In accordance with the Rome Statute that established the ICC, to convict an accused person, the trial chamber must be convinced of his or her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

In the event of a conviction, the trial chamber would consider an appropriate sentence.

Irrespective of whether the accused is acquitted or convicted, the court is required to establish the principles to be applied in relation to reparations, and it may make orders regarding awards of reparations to victims.

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