Girls recruited into Thomas Lubanga’s militia were raped by trainers and guards, a former soldier in the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) told the court today.
In court for the third consecutive day, the witness is one of many who have testified about sexual violence in the militia’s training camps.
“The trainers and other guards from the [training] center took advantage of situation,” the witness told Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito, after she asked him to explain the role of female recruits. “These girls were used for everything.”
That included domestic and sexual services, the witness said.
Later, when prosecutor Manoj Sachdeva asked him how old the girls were, the witness responded that he “couldn’t determine ages from their appearance.”
However, he reiterated that rape occurred in the Mandro training center, located about 12 miles outside the Ituri city of Bunia.
“I clearly said that there was rape – that is, carrying out sexual intercourse with someone who is not willing or doing so by force,” the witness explained. “That is what I qualify as rape.”
“Do you know if the commander of the center and other senior officers were aware that this took place?” asked Sachdeva.
“How could they not realize that this was taking place?” responded the witness, explaining that the senior officers were often the perpetrators.
The trial will resume on Tuesday, June 16.