ICC: Gender issues and child soldiers

05 September 2011

Our colleagues at Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice have shared an article that reflects on some of the gender issues for child soldiers in the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (Lubanga). This is the first international criminal trial ever held on the conflict in eastern DRC and it is the first case to focus exclusively on child soldiers.

This case arose out of the ICC investigation into the Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mr Lubanga, President of the Union des patriotes congolais (UPC) and commander-in-chief of the Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC), was taken into custody by the ICC on 17 March 2006 and faces charges relating to the enlistment and conscription of child soldiers and forcing their participation in the armed conflict in Ituri, DRC.

On 25 and 26 August 2011, the ICC held the closing arguments in this case. The Judges are now deliberating and are expected to render their decision on the innocence or guilt of Mr Lubanga in the next 3-5 months.

Drawing on information from the Women’s Initiatives’ documentation and victims participation programmes, this article is a reflection on the absence of explicit charges for gender-based crimes in this case, the experience of child soldiers including girls within the UPC/FPLC militia, and the gender dimensions embedded within the crimes for which Mr Lubanga is accused.

Read the article online at: http://www.iccwomen.org/documents/Gender-Issues-and-Child-Soldiers.pdf

Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice