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Pregnant Girls Forced to Abort

Abducted girls who became pregnant in the camps of Thomas Lubanga’s militia either had abortions or were chased away, according to a witness who said he was former militia soldier.

Following a closed session, the International Criminal Court resumed public testimony on Wednesday with Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito asking the witness to clarify his statements “about the young women.”

The witness responded that some of the girls in the camp, who he said may have been younger than himself and were forced to sleep with commanders, were told to have abortions if they became pregnant.

If they didn’t, the girls were chased from the camps, he said.

The pregnant girls were forced to do this despite the lack of any medical facilities to perform abortions in the camp, he said.

“They took traditional medicines,” the witness said. “They had abortions themselves.”

When Judge Benito asked if the witness had seen a 14 year-old girl die after an abortion, he said, “Yes. She had an abortion and afterwards she had complications. Then she died.”

Testimony by another witness is scheduled for tomorrow.


    1. Hi Courtney — yes the plight of girl soldiers in particular is being highlighted in this trial precisely because their experiences are often quite different to boy soldiers, and the ongoing implications uniquely tragic, like the forced abortions. Though we are yet to see whether Mr. Lubanga holds any criminal responsibility for the crimes of enlisting, conscripting and using child soldiers, the trial itself is helping to expose some of the issues associated with the use of child soldiers which are not unique to the DRC.
      Tracey (moderator)

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