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Defense Questions Witness on Military Song

The defense cross-examined an unnamed witness on Thursday about a video clip depicting a large group of children singing for defendant Thomas Lubanga.

“Is this song a military song?” asked Jean-Marie Biju-Duval, one of Lubanga’s lawyers.

“Yes,” responded the unnamed witness, who was testifying for the fourth consecutive day.

The witness was present when the video was shot, but in order to protect his identity, his role with the Union of Congolese Patriots [UPC] has not been disclosed.

The children in the video appeared to be part of a celebration welcoming Lubanga to their village, where the defendant delivered a speech on the “sacrifice” made by soldiers in his militia.

Noting that the children were part of the “civilian” population, Biju-Duval asked if they would have learned the song before that day. The witness responded that the children were simply repeating verses sung by a man leading the chorus.

Following the defense, Prosecutor Olivia Struyven asked the witness if he heard a name at the end of the song.

“I heard [the name] ‘Papa Toms,'” said the witness.

“Who is Papa Toms?” Struyven asked.

“The abbreviated form of Thomas Lubanga,” replied the witness.

 The majority of Thursday’s proceedings were conducted in closed session. The next witness will testify Friday morning.