3-16-2012By Taimur Rabbani
Crimes Against Humanity Program
Yesterday was a landmark day for international justice. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first verdict, convicting Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of conscripting child soldiers and using them in armed hostilities.
Lubanga Dyilo, arrested nearly 6 years ago, was the leader of a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He oversaw tremendous human rights violations including murder, rape, and torture. This verdict is a major step forward for the nascent tribunal, which has often been disregarded by the international community.
Human Rights First was a driving force behind the creation of the ICC, which started operating in 2002. The world’s first permanent international criminal tribunal, it has jurisdiction over human rights abuses of the highest magnitude including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Yesterday’s conviction demonstrates its capacity to hold accountable perpetrators of atrocities.