International Criminal court (ICC)

The Icc's first case is a milestone in the issue of child soldiers

New York, 9 November 2006– Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, welcomes the beginning of the pre-trial hearings against Thomas Lubanga. This case is considered a major milestone in international attempts to eradicate the practice of using child soldiers.

The former militia leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo is charged with war crimes for enlisting, recruiting and using children under fifteen in hostilities. If the charges are confirmed by the pre-trial chamber, it would be the first case of the ICC and the first case that focuses exclusively on child soldiers.

"The Lubanga case before the ICC shows that the international community is willing to move forward to put an end to impunity. It is a clear signal to the perpetrators that the atrocities endured by children in armed conflicts have to stop", said Radhika Coomaraswamy.

According to the Special Representative, the fight against impunity is also very important in the countries concerned. The adoption of complementary laws in national jurisdictions is crucial to reinforce the process.

The Special Representative added that her office supports the ICC and will follow closely the different steps of the proceedings and due process of the court.

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Gerard, Liaison Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children Affected by Armed Conflict, United Nations, New York. Telephone: 1 212 963 0984. E-mail: