Congo Watch: DR Congo rebel Thomas Lubanga faces Hague trial

Friday, March 17, 2006

DR Congo rebel Thomas Lubanga faces Hague trial

The UN force in DR Congo is the biggest in the world. The leader of a DRC militia group is to be sent to the world court over the killing of UN troops, a Congolese human rights group says Voice of the Voiceless, reported BBC Mar 17, 2006. Excerpt:

Thomas Lubanga was arrested a year ago after nine Bangladeshi United Nations peacekeepers were killed in the volatile north-eastern Ituri region.

This would be the first case dealt with by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Dutch city of the Hague.

The ICC was set up to deal with war crimes and genocide around the world.

Mr Lubanga was brought out of his jail in the capital, Kinshasa, by the Congo military on Thursday and informed that he will be judged by the ICC, according to Congolese human rights group Voice of the Voiceless.

Mr Lubanga is accused of having ordered the killing of the peacekeepers in February 2005 and of being behind continuous insecurity in the area.

Several teams of ICC investigators have been sent to Ituri in recent months where more than 50,000 people have died since the inter-ethnic war began in 1999.

Thomas Lubanga's ethnic Hema Union of Congolese Patriots has been battling their Lendu rivals, partly for control of Ituri's large deposits of gold.

Some 17,000 UN peacekeepers are in DR Congo, tasked with ensuring that elections planned for June go smoothly.

They have been backing up the Congolese army as it conducts raids against the numerous rebel groups based in the east.


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