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Flight Disruptions Delay Reopening Of Lubanga Trial

Flight disruptions at European airports have prompted a delay to the resumption of the Thomas Lubanga trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was set to resume today.

The trial has been on a break since April 2, 2010 when the annual spring judicial recess started. According to officials at the ICC, a number of people involved in the trial were unable to travel back to The Hague in time for today’s scheduled reopening of the trial. They said the trial will now resume on Monday April 26, 2010.

Mr. Lubanga is on trial at the ICC over the enlistment, conscription and use of children under the age of 15 years in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  Prosecutors at the ICC allege that Mr. Lubanga was the founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC). Prosecutors also claim that Mr. Lubanga was the commander-in-chief of the FPLC from September 2002 to at least the end of 2003.

Mr. Lubanga’s trial – the first at the ICC – started on January 26, 2009 and the prosecution rested its case on July 14, 2009. The defense case opened on January 27, 2010 and so far 13 witnesses have been called for Mr. Lubanga. The defense has said that its most of the witness it is calling first will testify about the alleged falsification of evidence against Mr. Lubanga, including the coaching of prosecution witnesses, by intermediaries of the ICC’s prosecution investigators.