Video for Change: Bringing a Warlord to Justice

Regions: Africa, Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Issues: Child soldiers, International criminal court, War crimes

Tags: ajedi-ka, icc, international criminal court, International Justice, Lubanga, video as evidence

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


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


International Justice: The Reckoning


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.

● The official ICC website's dedicated Lubanga Trial section

● The ICC website's FAQ sheet

Child Soldier Relief blog



Take Action


Help Protect the DRC with Amnesty International

Get involved with the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Take Action through War Child: an organization that helps children affected by war

● Blog about the trial and the role video played - please tag your post "Lubanga" and "WITNESS"

● Visit IJCentral if you want to join a global social network about the international justice movement, join in its action campaigns and follow it on Twitter.

Get involved with International Justcice through POV's action list.

This page was originally created by Chris Michael, and was most recently updated by Priscila Neri and Caitlin Clay.


Great article, with very

Great article, with very quality links.

Always in my thoughts and prayers!

I am glad that this is being brought to peoples attention! It's about time...After seeing the movie Blood Diamond, I looked into this tragedy. It is a horrible act of crime and hate against their own people. Justice will prevail in the end...These boys and girls and the families of these kids are in my thoughts and prayers ALWAYS! I wish I could do more to help...but I will pray to a higher power who has more power than any body ever and that is GOD! Thanks to all the people putting forth the time and effort to stop such an inhumanity...

Child Abuses

I am one of the Duplessis Orphans from Quebec, Canada. As a child, I was used as a guinea pig in medical experiments for 8 long years, from the ages of 6 to 14.
As a child, I understand the pain and horrors one sees in a day? As a victime, I want to thank you for the work you are continuing to do for the children.
They are the future, what they learn is what they will do, unless some one stands up to protect them, which you are doing, Congradulation, you have courage.
Working together we can change the future, protect the children, they are the Future. I am at the end of my life, so to speak 61, it would be nice to leave this place knowing, that things will be alright, I hope?

Child Soldier resources

Great Hub project!

Also, check out ChildSoldierRelief for up-to-the-minute postings, information, news on child soldier issues. We're going to be following the Lubanga trial as well.


Thanks for pointing people our way - and also for pulling together a great set of online resources on child soldiers (which we've added to the post above).


Sameer Padania | Hub Manager

Link broken

Oops! Just noticed that the link to doesn't connect. Thanks!

Thanks, link fixed!

Thanks for the heads up, Christine!  Would love to discuss how to work more closely on these issues... email to come!  Cheers, Priscila - Hub Content Coordinator

Thank you!

Thanks for fixing the link Priscila! Look forward to hearing from you about ideas on working together. Best, Christine


Great, thank you for putting up a link!

Are you interested in trading logos on our websites as partners on a common cause?

OSI's new website for the Lubanga Trial...

I encourage everyone to visit Open Society Justice Initiative's impressive site that features trial-related news and analysis ->

~Chris Michael  |  Hub Coordinator