The International Criminal Court (ICC) today delivered its first ever verdict finding Thomas Lubanga Diyalo guilty of war crimes, more precisely the recruitment of child soldiers, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Commenting on the verdict, Green MEP and chair of the European Parliament human rights committee Barbara Lochbihler stated:
"Today's verdict against Thomas Lubanga is a major milestone in the fight against global impunity. The International Criminal Court has vindicated its existence, since it was the referral by Uganda of Lubanga to the ICC that finally ended his activities. The sentence against Lubanga sends out a far-reaching signal to all those who continue to force children into warfare, underlining that the use of child soldiers is not a national issue but an international crime, which can and will be punished by the international community.
"The case against Lubanga is a first step towards bringing all those to court who are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today's decision shows that no one can escape justice. The international community must continue to provide the ICC with the financial and political support it deserves."