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First arrest for the International Criminal Court

First arrest for the International Criminal Court
The Hague, 17 March 2006


On 17 March 2006, in Kinshasa, Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese national and alleged founder and leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) was arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court as part of the judicial proceedings under the Rome Statute (the “Statute”). Thomas Lubanga is alleged to have committed war crimes as set out in article 8 of the Statute, committed in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since July 2002.

Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a sealed warrant of arrest against Mr Lubanga on 10 February 2006. The Chamber found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Lubanga had committed the following war crime: conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. The Chamber also requested that the Democratic Republic of the Congo arrest and surrender him to the Court. The Registrar notified the Congolese authorities of the decision on 14 March 2006, as instructed by the Pre-Trial Chamber.

On 17 March 2006, Pre-Trial Chamber I unsealed the warrant of arrest against Mr Thomas Lubanga.

As provided under article 59 of the Statute, Mr Lubanga appeared before the competent judicial authority in Kinshasa. The Congolese authorities cooperated with the Court in the spirit of the Statute by promptly executing its request. The French Government agreed to cooperate with the Court and, for the purpose of executing the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I, provided a military aircraft to transfer Mr Lubanga. MONUC also provided support to the operation.

Mr Lubanga is the first person to be arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court since the entry into force of the Statute in July 2002. The Prosecutor of the Court initiated investigations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2004 after the Congolese Government referred the situation in that country to the Court.

The Court issued its first warrants of arrest in July 2005 in the situation in Uganda against five leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Investigations are also ongoing in the situation in Darfur which was referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by the United Nations Security Council on 31 March 2005.


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