29 February 2012 The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced today that next month it will deliver its first ever verdict, issuing a judgment in the war crimes trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese man accused of participating in the recruitment of child soldiers.
The verdict in the trial of Mr. Lubanga Dyilo will be made in open court on 14 March. His trial started in January 2009 and the closing statements were presented by the parties and participants in August last year.
In accordance with the Rome Statute that established the ICC, to convict an accused person, the trial chamber must be convinced of his or her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
In the event of a conviction, the trial chamber will consider an appropriate sentence. Irrespective of whether the accused is acquitted or convicted, the court is required to establish the principles to be applied in relation to reparations, and it may make orders regarding awards of reparations to victims.
Mr. Lubanga Dyilo is accused of having committed, with others, the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 into the rebel group known as Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo), and using them to participate actively in hostilities in Ituri district in north-eastern the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between September 2002 and August 2003.
He was transferred to The Hague, where the ICC is based, in March 2006 after his surrender. A warrant of arrest had been issued against him.
Currently, 14 cases have been brought before the ICC, including four that have reached the trial stage.
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