DR Congo

DR Congo: Trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo - the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Children and Armed Conflict will testify before the Court


Situation: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Case: The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

From 7 January, 2010, onwards, the judges of Trial Chamber I will hear the testimony of Mrs Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Children and Armed Conflict, in the trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo before the International Criminal Court, in The Hague. She will appear before the Court upon request of the judges, as well as another expert-witness and three victims-witnesses.

Mrs Coomaraswamy will be testifying as an expert witness on the definition of conscription or enlistment of children, and on the interpretation of the term "using them to participate actively in the hostilities".

Following her testimony, over the course of the next week, the Chamber will hear Professor Kambayi Bwatshia, an expert on names and other social conventions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Finally, three victims will express their views and concerns and give evidence in person, as witnesses. Two of them will testify about their alleged recruitment by the UPC (Union des patriotes congolais - Union of Congolese Patriots), when they were under the age of 15 in Ituri and the last one will give evidence on the alleged recruitment of children in Ituri.

The Defence team, led by Catherine Mabille, will then, over the course of several months, present exculpatory evidence in its possession. In support of its theses, the Defence will call around thirty witnesses. To date, the majority of witnesses have not requested any protective measures from the Court. The witnesses will be examined by the Defence and cross-examined by the Prosecution.

The Prosecution finished presenting its evidence on 14 July, 2009. Over the course of 22 weeks, and during 74 days of hearings, the Chamber heard 28 witnesses called by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), including three experts and including 25 witnesses under protective measures. The Chamber also called two other experts to testify. The Defence team cross-examined all the witnesses presented by the OTP.

To date, 103 victims represented by three teams of legal counsel have been authorised to participate in the trial. They have the right to express their position on matters heard before the Chamber and subject to the judge's authorisation, they may examine witnesses on specific issues.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo faces counts of war crimes consisting of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The trial started on 26 January, 2009.

Two other cases in the situation in the DRC are being heard before the Court: The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda. Both Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui are in the custody of the Court while Bosco Ntaganda remains at large.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The Court is steadfast in its commitment to ensure the proceedings before it are in conformity with the highest legal standards and due process to ensure the rights of the suspects and accused persons.

Practical information for media

All media wishing to attend the hearings are welcome. No confirmation is required. They are kindly invited to use the public entrance located on Regulusweg and to arrive no later than 09.15 a.m. Press identification will be requested at the entrance.

The media will have access to the public gallery of Courtroom I where seats have been reserved for them and to the Media Centre.

The proceedings will be held in open session unless ordered otherwise. It will be possible to follow the proceedings on the ICC website at:

Courtroom I:

- English: http://livestream.xs4all.nl/icc1.asx

- French: http://livestream.xs4all.nl/icc2.asx

Please note there will be a 30 minute delay in transmission.

It will not be possible to take photos in the courtroom. However the Court will provide a selection of digital photos (video resolution) on request to: PublicAffairs.Unit@icc-cpi.int.

A video (mpeg 4 format) and audio (mpeg 3 format) summary of the proceedings for international media (audio: floor only) will be available each Friday. The 'In the courtroom' programme, for television and radio, produced by the Public Information and Documentation Section, in French, will be available each Monday.

For further information please contact Ms Sonia Robla, Head of Public Information and Documentation Section at +31 (0)70 515-8089 or +31 (0) 6 46 44 87 26 or at sonia.robla@icc-cpi.int