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Congolese ex-warlord convicted of using children as soldiers
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2012
Posted: March 20th, 2012

The International Criminal Court in The Hague on [March 14] found former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty of using children as soldiers, the first verdict in the panel's 10-year history. He could face life imprisonment. After a three-year trial, the court convicted Lubanga of recruiting boys and girls younger than 15 as soldiers during a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. Although his militia was accused of massacres, rapes, torture and ethnic killings by human rights activists and witnesses, the court charged him only with the recruitment and use of children to fight. Amnesty International expressed disappointment that the court failed to prosecute other crimes that Lubanga was alleged to have committed and called on the ICC to widen its future prosecutions. It also called on the court to ensure trials proceeded more swiftly. The verdict was seen as a major breakthrough in forcing warlords and politicians to be held accountable for atrocities and crimes against humanity, sending a message that international justice eventually would catch up with them. The evidence said girls forcibly recruited by the warlord were used as sex slaves, and videos aired in court showed Lubanga surrounded by child combatants. Tens of thousands of children continue to be used in wars across the continent, according to human rights agencies. Other African leaders or warlords indicted by the court include Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army, whose activities in Uganda were highlighted in a video watched by about 70 million people last week.

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