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The First Verdict of the International Criminal Court

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

The International Criminal Court reached the first verdict in its history today. ICC Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford delivered the verdict: "The chamber has reached its decision unanimously. The chamber concludes that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is guilty of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years.” The trial and conviction of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo marks a crucial step forward in the fight against impunity.

"The defendant stole the childhood of the victims by forcing them to kill and rape. Lubanga victimised the children before they ever had a chance to grow up," said The Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo. During the reading of the verdict, Judge Fulford also mentioned film-footage featured in a Cinema for Peace trailer about Lubanga’s practice of forcibly conscripting children as part of the evidence. In an analysis meeting after the verdict Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the soon-to-be new Chief Prosecutor Fata Bensouda suggested to Cinema for Peace Founder Jaka Bizilj to support and initiate more films about justice and the ICC cases in order to educate the public and help provide evidence.

Many hope that this verdict will keep dictators and rebel leaders from enlisting children in future, and will motivate the missing countries to sign the UN Optional protocol, saying that anybody under 18 years can't be recruited for armed conflict. At the closing statements in August of 2011, the Cinema for Peace Foundation started a petition in order to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, where all UN member states are asked to denounce the use of child soldiers and combat the use of sexual violence during wartime, as well as make efforts to ensure that schools and hospitals are not targeted during armed attacks. The petition was supported by Angelina Jolie, who was also in attendance today, the former child soldiers Ishmael Beah, Emmanuel Jal and Kon Kelei, as well as the UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy. Cinema for Peace also monitors a ‘List of Shame’ with the United Nations in order to pressure those states that have not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to do so, and we send a selection of movies to the heads of state and their responsible representatives, in order to make it clear that this is a crime and that they will be prosecuted in The Hague if they do send children into armed conflict – just like Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.

Lubanga’s conviction is a tremendous victory in the battle for international justice, and his case sets the precedent needed to prosecute other notorious human rights abusers in the future.

Please Watch the Trailer of the Day for:

Cinema for Peace 'War Child' Trailer

Some of this footage determines that Lubanga had in fact conscripted children under the age of 15 to fight in his militia

Prosecutor

Prosecutor (2010) follows the Chief Prosecutor through the first trials of the newly formed International Criminal Court. Luis Moreno-Ocampo investigates and prosecutes some of the world’s worst criminals for some of the world’s worst crimes.

The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court

Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis’ 2009 documentary, The Reckoning, follows dynamic ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and his team for 3 years across 4 continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, shakes up the Colombian justice system, and charges Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur, challenging the UN Security Council to arrest him.

 

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