The global movement for justice - especially international justice - is growing. So what role can video play in strengthening accountability and justice? On January 26 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) began its inaugural trial - a landmark case against Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who stands accused of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 to fight in his militia between 2002 and 2003 during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The conflict in the DRC has left over 5 million people dead and millions more displaced since 1998.
Over the past several years, video has played an integral role in helping to put the issue of child soldiers onto the ICC's agenda. In this page, we'll explore the trial in greater depth and also look more broadly at the ICC and the quest for international justice.
Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga
*THE TRIAL OF THOMAS LUBANGA*
July, 2009: This video - 6 months into the trial - aims to inform the DRC public, especially in war-affected zones, about the Lubanga trial at the ICC in The Hague (video also available in French and Swahili). The trial is ongoing and is yet to reach a verdict. Read an analysis of the first six months of the trial by WITNESS' Bukeni Waruzi, a DRC native and a lifelong advocate for the rights of child soldiers.
February-June, 2009: Video summaries from the trial and courtroom courtesy of IJCentral. Watch the latest weekly update here.
January, 2009: In this video produced as Bukeni Waruzi prepares to travel to The Hague to attend the opening week of the Lubanga trial, Bukeni Waruzi reflects on its significance.
**Watch Bukeni's daily vlog reports from The Hague during week 1 of the trial- Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4
A new documentary by Skylight Pictures, The Reckoning follows the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, and his team for 3 years across 4 continents. In that period, the ICC issues arrest warrants for Lord's Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, challenges the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur. But the prosecutor also faces considerable challenges in securing justice. The Reckoning explores both the challenges and opportunities of the ICC, the first permanent court established to prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Learn more here.
In this excerpt from The Reckoning, John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, explains why he was against the formation of the ICC and why he believes the court could be a threat to U.S. national security.
In this additional video from The Reckoning, Fatou Bensouda, deputy prosecutor at ICC, talks about why she decided to work for the court and responds to criticism that the ICC is a European court that only focuses on investigating Africa.
Video: Child Soldiers in the DRC
The widespread use of child soldiers in the DRC is without parallel in Africa. Tens of thousands of child soldiers have been recruited as combatants by all parties to the conflict. In 2003, AJEDI-Ka, a DRC-based nonprofit organization that demobilizes and reintegrates child soldiers, partnered with WITNESS. Bukeni Waruzi, then AJEDI-Ka's Executive Director, produced several films on the situation of child soldiers in the Eastern DRC.
Two videos in particular, On the Frontlines and A Duty to Protect, were integral to highlighting the use of child soldiers in the conflict and supporting calls for accountability and justice:
On the Frontlines, which advocates for the end of voluntary recruitment of child soldiers in Eastern DRC, was the first film produced by AJEDI-Ka in collaboration with WITNESS. In addition to screenings with key decision makers, the film was screened to more than 30,000 villagers across Eastern DRC, helping significantly reduce the voluntary recruitment of child soldiers in some parts of the region.
The second video, A Duty to Protect, features the testimonies of two girl soldiers caught up in the conflict and advocates for the ICC's involvement in ending the use of child soldiers in the region. This video was screened at The Hague and incorporated into an international campaign for the ICC to prioritize child soldiers in its first investigation.
** Watch an in-depth, four-part video interview series with Bukeni on his work on child soldiers - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Learn more & stay up-to-date
● Lubanga Trial - a project of the Open Society Justice Initiative
● Overview and timeline of the Lubanga trial from the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)
● In situ, by the CICC, seeks to help bridge the gap between populations affected by the crimes under the Court's investigation and the ICC's activities in The Hague.