International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

ICC Judges to Consider Reducing Lubanga’s Jail Term

Next month, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will conduct a review to determine whether to reduce the 14-year prison sentence handed down to Thomas Lubanga for using child soldiers in armed conflict.

The review is pursuant to Article 110(3) of the court’s Rome Statute, which provides that when a convicted person has served two thirds of their sentence, the court “shall review the sentence to determine whether it should be reduced.”

In March 2012, Trial Chamber I convicted Mr. Lubanga of recruiting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and actively using them in an armed conflict in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2002 and 2003.

Judges sentenced the former leader of the … Continue Reading

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Appeals Chamber Decision on Reparations in the Lubanga Case

Dear Readers,

The following commentary first ran in a Special Issue of Legal Eye on the ICC, a regular eLetter produced by the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, an international women’s human rights organization that advocates for gender justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) and works with women most affected by the conflict situations under investigation by the ICC. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative. To read the full version of the Legal Eye eLetter, click here.

On March 3, 2015, the Appeals Chamber,[i] Judge Anita Ušacka dissenting,[ii] issued its first Judgment on reparations in the Lubanga case (Appeals Chamber Reparations Judgment or Judgment).[iii] The Judgment follows … Continue Reading

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ICC Appeals Chamber Issues Its First Judgment on Reparations

On March 3, 2015, the Appeals Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first-ever judgment on reparations. Trial Chamber I had issued its decision establishing the principles and procedures to be applied to reparations in the case against Thomas Lubanga in August 2012. Both the defense and the victims had appealed the trial chamber decision.

In March 2012, Lubanga became to first person to be convicted by the ICC for the enlistment, conscription, and use of child soldiers under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in hostilities. The crimes occurred in 2002 and 2003 in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lubanga was sentenced to a total of 14 years of imprisonment, and both his conviction and … Continue Reading

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Voices from the Ground: Reactions to Final Lubanga Judgment

The below transcript is from a program on Radio Canal Revelation, a radio station based in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The program is part of the radio station’s Interactive Radio for Justice and Peace Project, which promotes discussion on critical issues around justice in DRC. Following the December 1, 2014 appeals judgment of Thomas Lubanga upholding his conviction and sentence, the program hosted a call-in show to get reactions from listeners about the judgment. This transcript has been edited to remove non-relevant information.

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Presenter (Didyne Uweka):  Welcome dear listeners, you’re following us from around the world. Today, we are going to present a special program that is part of the Interactive Radio for Justice and Peace Project.

On December … Continue Reading

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Dissent in Lubanga Appeal Decision Highlights Fair Trial Concerns

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today issued its first appellate decision in the case against Thomas Lubanga, upholding his conviction and sentence for war crimes relating to child soldiers. However, a strong dissent was issued by Judge Anita Ušacka, who stated that she would have reversed the conviction and acquitted Mr. Lubanga, vacating his sentence.

The majority appellate decision relied upon the law regulating appeals to find that the trial chamber overall had not acted beyond the limits of its discretion. The appeals judges found that the trial chamber’s conviction and sentence were within the bounds of a reasonable arbiter of fact. The appeals judges also affirmed that the accused charged as a co-perpetrator need not “personally directly” commit the alleged … Continue Reading

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Appeals Judges Uphold Lubanga’s ICC Conviction and Prison Sentence

Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have upheld the conviction of Congolese opposition leader Thomas Lubanga, who in March 2012 became the first individual to be convicted by the court.

The judges, who delivered their judgment this afternoon, also confirmed the 14-year prison sentence that trial judges handed Mr. Lubanga.

The prosecution had asked judges to raise the sentence, terming the 14 years “manifestly disproportionate” to the crimes he was convicted of. Mr. Lubanga had asked the appeals judges to lower the sentence.

In a ruling read by Judge Erkki Kourula, a majority of judges rejected all seven of Mr. Lubanga’s appeal grounds. Judge Anita Ušacka dissented, while Judge Sang-Hyun Song partially dissented.

The former leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) … Continue Reading

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Judgement in Lubanga’s Appeal to be Announced December 1

The verdict in Thomas Lubanga’s appeal against the conviction and 14-year jail sentence handed to him by trial judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be announced on December 1, 2014.

According to a November 18, 2014 scheduling order, the appeals judgment shall be delivered in open court at 4:30 in the afternoon in The Hague. Judges who handled the appeals are Erkki Kourula (Presiding), Sang-Hyun Song, Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Anita Ušacka, and Ekaterina Trendafilova.

In 2012, Mr. Lubanga became the first person to be convicted by the court. Trial judges found him guilty of recruiting and conscripting children under the age of 15 in his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia and actively using them in an armed conflict in the Ituri … Continue Reading

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Why ICC Prosecutor Did Not Charge Intermediaries Over Witness Tampering

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) did not initiate investigations or prosecutions against three intermediaries accused of coaching and corruptly influencing witnesses during the trial of Thomas Lubanga.

The OTP also did not take any action against three individuals who conspired and purportedly stole identities in order to participate as victims in the trial at the court based in The Hague.

According to prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, investigating or prosecuting the intermediaries could “have no effect on the conviction rendered by the Trial Chamber against Mr. Lubanga” because the judges based their verdict on evidence provided by witnesses other those who had contact with the intermediaries.

Ms. Bensouda made these explanations in response to a March 3, 2014 … Continue Reading

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Age of Soldiers at Center of Lubanga Appeals Hearing

On the last day of the appeals hearing for Thomas Lubanga, the age of the young soldiers who served in the militia he led remained at the center of submissions by his defense and by prosecutors.

Mr. Lubanga himself made an unsworn statement at the end of the hearing, stating that it was “incomprehensible” that International Criminal Court (ICC) judges convicted him of recruiting and using child soldiers in armed conflict.

“I have spent nine years in preventative detention. It is long and terrible for a human being,” he said. “It is all the more terrible to do so thousands of kilometers from my native environment, my family, and my children.”

Mr. Lubanga said what made him despair in the proceedings was “the … Continue Reading

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