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Lubanga Trial Resumes Tomorrow

Thomas Lubanga’s war crimes trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumes tomorrow after a hiatus of two weeks.

On February 18, 2010, court took a break to allow Lubanga’s lawyers to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to conduct what Judge Adrian Fulford referred to as “critical research”.

Once the trial resumes, it is expected that the defense will present a new witness, the sixth to testify for Lubanga, who is accused of enlisting, conscripting and using child soldiers in armed conflict. The ICC says he committed these crimes during 2002 and 2003 as various ethnically-based militia groups fought each others in the DRC’s Ituri Province.

Lubanga, who is alleged to have led the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia groups, is first to be tried by the ICC. His trial started on January 26, 2009. The defense case opened a year later on January 27, 2010.

Two other former Congolese leaders – Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui – are on trial at the ICC. They have been jointly charged over three crimes against humanity and seven war crimes.

Three of the witnesses so far called by the Lubanga defense have testified with protective measures such as voice and face distortion to three. Two others testified in full public view and also gave their names, although most of their testimony was given in closed session.