"An army of children" - Prosecutors speaking of Lubanga's militia, day 3 of the trial
Today was another day of firsts at the International Criminal Court (ICC) - the first witness was called to the stand, a boy who was a child soldier under Lubanga, and security measures enacted to help mitigate the risks to him. The boy spoke behind a screen to protect him from public view, though the judge, Lubanga and participating attorneys could see him. The AFP reported how the boy, with an electronically-distorted voice, noted how he was taken to a camp, "I was one of those taken to the camps. It happened when we were returning home ... I was leaving school."
The first witness being called to the stand broke the chain from yesterday's news coverage that focused on Lubanga's defense team's claims that he could not get a fair trial. Reporting from The Hague, Institute for War and Peace Reporting's Rachel Irwin noted, "attorneys for Thomas Lubanga said today the accused militia leader is a scapegoat for others who bear the 'highest responsibility' for the militia's conscription of child soldiers and other atrocities."
In his vlog update from the second day of the trial, my colleague Bukeni Waruzi, who has worked on the issue of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than a decade, noted that after the defense council's opening statements, the judges opened a discussion on the security of the witnesses, victims and also the self-incrimination of some of the witnesses. Bukeni, who is reporting live from The Hague, will upload his vlog later today to share his thoughts about the events and how the security measures were implemented, which you will be able to see here.
For now, please watch Bukeni's vlog report from the second day of the trial...
In addition to Bukeni's vlogs, I highly encourage you to watch this first interview of an in-depth, four-part series that my colleague Priscila Neri conducted with Bukeni to spotlight how he started working on child soldiers in the eastern DRC while he was in university.