– First conviction –
The initial verdict marked the first-ever conviction at the ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, since it opened its doors more than a decade ago.
The verdict was attended by Hollywood actress and campaigner against the recruitment of child soldiers, Angelina Jolie.
Four months later, the former militia commander Lubanga, now 53, was sentenced to 14 years for his part in a war in the gold-rich northeastern Ituri region, where rights groups say some 60,000 civilians were killed between 1999 and 2006.
Lubanga’s lawyers appealed both verdict and sentence, saying his right to a fair trial had been violated because prosecutors failed to disclose evidence in time that could have bolstered the defence case.
ICC judges also failed to establish that soldiers younger than 15 were present in the military wing of Lubanga’s Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), his lawyers said, referring to video footage of alleged child soldiers.