THE HAGUE, January 23, 2009 (AFP) – Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo hopes to alert the world to the plight of child soldiers when he finally faces Congolese militiaman Thomas Lubanga next week at the International Criminal Court’s first-ever trial. “This case is about how serious it is to enlist hundreds of children and transform them into killers,” the 56-year-old Argentine told AFP in an interview at his office amid a flurry of last-minute preparations.
He said the trial will paint a grim picture of what it entails to be a child soldier.
“As adults we have a responsibility to educate our children. And here children were educated to kill, educated to pillage, to rape …
Six years on, “they are still suffering. They are still trying to recover from what happened. I think it is very important to understand the particular drama of this type of crime.”
After months of delays, Lubanga is set to go on trial Monday for allegedly recruiting child soldiers into the armed wing of his Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) rebel group.
He is charged with three counts of war crimes for allegedly using the children in fighting in the gold-rich Ituri region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between September 2002 and Augus