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Child Soldiers Suffered Lasting Trauma

Child soldiers suffered severe mental and physical problems after leaving the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), a protected witness told prosecutors today.

One child, he said, was beaten so badly during military training that “one of his testicles had been damaged.”

“[The child] needed medical intervention to remove the wound,” explained the witness, who was the head of an organization that worked to treat and reintegrate former child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The prosecution’s previous witness, who finished his testimony this morning in closed session, also worked in a demobilization facility.

Today’s witness said that he knew another child who had experienced trauma in his family prior to being recruited.

“[He] only wanted to come back to kill his father,” the witness said.

Yet another child, he said, had become epileptic as a result of the loud shooting he heard during military training.

The witness also described the experience of one of the young female recruits, who became pregnant in a transit camp after leaving military training.

“She had an abortion but it was not well done, so she had to have an additional medical treatment,” he said.

The father of the child, he added, was not one of the commanders in Thomas Lubanga’s training camp.

“A humanitarian worker [in the transit camp] was father of this child,” the witness said.

In these cases, the children were between 13 and 14 years old, he said.

The trial will continue on July 7.