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Defense Finishes with Child Soldier

Thomas Lubanga’s defense lawyers on Tuesday probed discrepancies in the testimony of a former child soldier between his original statement and his comments in court.

On the stand for the third consecutive day, the unnamed witness told prosecutors that he was wounded in a battle with Ugandan soldiers in 2003. A vehicle was called to the scene to help him, he said.

Catherine Mabille, Lubanga’s lead defense attorney, asked the witness how many others were in the vehicle with him.

“I didn’t count the people because I was in pain,” he said, adding that he was in the fourth grade at the time.

Mabille then asked the witness to look at the statement he originally gave court investigators in 2007, when he said there were three other injured children in the bus with him.

“Yes, I remember saying that,” the witness responded.

The witness appeared to contradict his original statement at several points during the day, but the reasons for these discrepancies were not explored or clarified in open court.

Mabille also questioned the witness on the small machine gun he received in a training camp after his second abduction.

“How many cartridges were there in the [ammunition] magazine?” Mabille asked.

“Thirty-two bullets,” the witness said.

Mabille then pointed out a paragraph in his original statement, where he said each ammunition magazine contained 42 bullets.

The witness explained that the statement referred to a different weapon.

“I was given a submachine gun when (we) went to fight [the Ugandan army],” he said. “It was realized I was small and could not carry a [small machine gun].”

A new witness will take the stand Wednesday morning.