International Criminal Court (ICC) warms up for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Blair/Ratzinger/Queen-trial
International Criminal Court (ICC) warms up for Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Blair/Ratzinger/Queen/Rothschild/Rockefeller-trial
Global court to decide on launching first trial
Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:01am ET
By Emma Thomasson
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) will decide on Monday whether there is enough evidence to try a Congolese militiaman for using children as soldiers in what would be the new court's first trial.
A decision to confirm charges against Thomas Lubanga and launch a trial would be a major landmark for the ICC that was set up as the first permanent global war crimes court in 2002 and is now backed by 104 countries.
The court could also throw out the charges, request further evidence and investigations, or ask prosecutors to consider amending a charge. Some victims' groups want the charges expanded to include crimes such as killings, rape and torture.
"What's most likely is that the judges will confirm the current charges against Lubanga in light of the evidence put forward by the prosecutor," said Geraldine Mattioli, international justice advocate of Human Rights Watch.
Democratic Republic of Congo -- rich in gold, diamonds and timber -- was the battleground for rebels, local factions, tribes and several neighboring countries, including Uganda, in a 1998-2003 war in which 4 million people died, mainly from hunger and disease.
Prosecutors say Lubanga, the founder and leader of one of the most dangerous militia in Congo's Ituri district, trained children to kill, made them kill and let them be killed. He was sent to the Hague court last March.
The 46-year-old, who holds a degree in psychology, has denied the charges. His lawyer has accused the prosecution of withholding information he needs to prepare the defense and said Lubanga was Congo's Nelson Mandela -- a man unjustly detained.
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