A Duty to Protect: Child Soldiers in the DRC

Bringing a Warlord to Justice

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) children make up the majority of combatants in a war that has claimed over five million lives. In 2003, AJEDI-Ka, a DRC-based nonprofit organization that demobilizes and reintegrates child soldiers, partnered with WITNESS to produce several videos on the situation of child soldiers in the region.

 

The videos feature voices of child soldiers and explore the complexity of the war, the issues confronted by girl soldiers including rape and sexual exploitation, and the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to end the rampant impunity reigning in Eastern DRC. The video A Duty to Protect gives specific recommendations to strengthen the work of the ICC and calls for the international community’s engagement to stop the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

 

On January 26 2009, the ICC began its inaugural trial - a landmark case against Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. He stands accused of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 to fight in his militia between 2002 and 2003 during the civil war.  On March 14th, the International Criminal Court found Thomas Lubanga, a former rebel leader in the eastern Congo, guilty of using children in armed conflict - a war crime.

 

Bukeni Waruzi, our Program Manager for Africa and the Middle East, and former executive director of AJEDI-KA has been following the proceedings of the trial since its beginning. Watch short videos from Bukeni about the trial as well as A Duty to Protect and On the Frontlines below. 

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New ICC Prosecutor Vows to Focus on Victims

Source: IRIN News | July 30, 2012

Our Bukeni Waruzi is interviewed about the reactions of victims and advocates thus far on proceedings at the Court, with specific reaction to the Thomas Lubanga case.

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Bukeni Waruzi Discusses Reparations for Child Soldiers in the DRC

Source: IRIN Africa | April 10, 2012

On the heels of the guilty verdict of Thomas Lubanga, the discussion has turned to what, if any, reparations his victims can expect or hope for. The story was also distributed via AllAfrica.com.

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Radio Netherlands Covers Discussion on Lubanga Guilty Verdict at ICC

Source: Radio Netherlands | March 29, 2012

The conversation featured our Bukeni Waruzi and Armel Luhiriri, the Africa Situations liaison at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

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  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C) children make up the majority of combatants in a war that has claimed over five million lives. Through the voices of child soldiers, A DUTY TO PROTECT explores the complexity of the war, the issues confronted by girl soldiers including rape and sexual exploitation, and the importance of the International Criminal Court to end the rampant impunity reigning in Eastern DRC. The video gives specific recommendations to strengthen the work of the ICC and calls for the international community’s engagement to stop the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

     

    The global movement for justice - especially international justice - continues to grow. Video play is playing a role in strengthening accountability and justice. On January 26 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) began its inaugural trial - a landmark case against Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. He stands accused of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 to fight in his militia between 2002 and 2003 during the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The conflict in the DRC has left over 5 million people dead and millions more displaced since 1998. On March 14, 2012, the ICC will render their verdict on the case.

     

    The widespread use of child soldiers in the DRC is without parallel in Africa. Tens of thousands of child soldiers have been recruited as combatants by all parties to the conflict. In 2003, AJEDI-Ka, a DRC-based nonprofit organization that demobilizes and reintegrates child soldiers, partnered with WITNESS. Bukeni Waruzi, then AJEDI-Ka's Executive Director, produced several films on the situation of child soldiers in the Eastern DRC.

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