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Child Solider Hearing could Lead to First Trial

Media Advisory – 8 November 2006

ICC Confirmation of Charges Hearing Begins Tomorrow for Thomas Lubanga of the DRC

Hearing on Child Solider Charges could Lead to the ICC’s First Trial

WHAT: On 9 November 2006, the International Criminal Court will commence its first-ever confirmation of charges hearing in of the case of The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. The Confirmation of Charges hearing is held so that the Court’s three judges in the case can assess whether the charges upon which the ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, intends to seek a trial of the accused can be confirmed.

WHO: Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is the alleged founder and leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and Commander-in-Chief of the UPC’s military wing, the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In his leadership position with the UPC/FPLC, he allegedly coordinated the groups’ policy to recruit and enlist child soldiers and enabled this strategy’s practical implementation. Mr. Lubanga had been imprisoned in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, since his March 2005 arrest and was surrendered to the ICC on 16 March 2006. Mr. Lubanga was formally charged with “enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 as soldiers and using them to participate actively in hostilities” on 28 August 2006.

HOW: The ICC Prosecutor will be required to support his charges against Mr. Lubanga with sufficient evidence in order to establish substantial grounds to argue that Mr. Lubanga committed the crimes with which he is charged. Mr. Lubanga will be given the chance to object to the charges and challenge evidence through his lawyer, Mr. Jean Flamme. Lawyers representing four victims will be able to present the victims’ perspective on current charges and their concerns. Additionally, the Presiding Judge in the Lubanga case, Judge Claude Jorda (France), will determine how the hearing is to be conducted and will establish the order and the conditions under which evidence is to be presented. If the three judges confirm the charges against Mr. Lubanga, the ICC will be able to move forward in what will be the Court’s first-ever trial.

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MORE INFORMATION: The CICC’s fact sheet on the Confirmation of Charges Hearing is posted on the CICC website at: http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=fsdoc or go to the ICC’s website at: http://www.icc-cpi.int/home.html&l=en

ENDS

Important notice:

CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC: The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the Court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.

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