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In Video, Lubanga Described as “Obstacle” to Peace

Video interviews with commanders of Thomas Lubanga’s Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) suggest that Lubanga did not want peace in the Ituri region. 

The videos, reportedly filmed in March 2003 and presented to the court on Thursday, reveal splits within the UPC’s hierarchy.

In one video, the former UPC Minister of Defense Chef Kawa Pangamandro-widely known as Chef Kawa-states that Lubanga was putting obstacles in the way of the Ituri Pacification Commission (IPC).

Chef Kawa states that it was “necessary for Ituri to be reunified under a government directed by Kinshasa,” but that “the UPC and Kigali have hidden agendas. They want to create another republic. We think this is too dangerous. It is our principle mission to reunify Ituri, [but] Lubanga rejected pacification.”

In another video segment, Chef Kawa states, “the situation is going to improve because the person blocking the peace process has been removed.” 

A witness who was shown the video on Thursday confirmed that the person referred to was Lubanga.

A different video showed similar accusations being leveled against Lubanga. In the video, another militia commander states, “the commission was tasked in establishing a transitional agreement, [but] the commission could not start because of the selfish individuals like the leadership of the UPC. Lubanga kept on putting obstacles in the way of the IPC.” 

Prosecutor Olivia Struyven asked the witness if Lubanga participated in the pacification commission meetings.

“The pacification commission had (the) objective to help all combatants speak with one voice,” the witness said. “It started with the end of hostilities. Everyone had to come together to sign. There were many groups. 

“Chief Kawa was there, the former (UPC) minister of defense. But he did not represent the UPC then. There was no one of the UPC, which was represented at the pacification commission, but there were representatives from the other groups.”

 The trial continues on Friday.