Top Stories from the Development and Aid World News Service.
ICC Issues First-Ever Verdict
The International Criminal Court was created in 2002 to try individuals suspected of committing war crimes. It took 10 years, but today the ICC landed its first-ever conviction. In the Hague today, Thomas Lubanga, a Congolese warlord, was found guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers. “Thomas Lubanga was convicted of snatching children from the street and turning them into killers. He showed no emotion as the presiding judge, Adrian Fulford, read out the verdict. In a unanimous decision, the three judges said evidence proved that as head of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and its military wing, Lubanga had been responsible for the conscription of child soldiers active on the frontline. He now faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The court cannot impose the death penalty.” (Guardian http://bit.ly/wm7GCI)
In a Landmark Case, Pakistan Courts Convicts Two Peacekeepers in Haiti
The issue of criminal prosecution of UN peacekeepers is politically and legally tricky. If a peacekeeper is accused of wrong doing, he is typically be sent home to face trial. But if the victim of his crime is a local, a sense of justice may be lost. One possible solution is a field courts martial, where the peacekeepers’ military justice system applied in a local setting. When two Pakistani members of MINUSTAH were accused of sexually assault earlier this year, this solution kicked into gear. “Two United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti have been sentenced to a year in prison with hard labor after a rare trial found them guilty of sexual abuse and exploitation, a U.N. spokeswoman said Tuesday.Spokeswoman Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg said the United Nations was informed last week that the two Pakistani police officers were convicted by a Pakistani military court in the Haitian port city of Gonaives and were discharged. No U.N. personnel or Haitian officials were present for the trial, she said…U.N. authorities also were told that Pakistan intends to compensate the victims, but has not determined the amount.” (USA Today http://usat.ly/wSCscK)
Ugandans Get First Glimpse of Kony2012. It Flops.
Victor Ochen of the local NGO The Africa Youth Initiative Network, brought the viral video to the town of Lira, Northern Uganda. The response was generally negative. “Few in Lira, once the epicentre of fighting between Kony’s rebels and the Ugandan armed forces, have access to the Internet at speeds that will allow the 30-minute film to stream. But Victor Ochen, director of a Ugandan charity working with people abducted or maimed by Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is making sure that they will be able to see Kony2012. “We have brought a projector up here and a very big screen, and even as I talk to you, we are setting it up in Lira Mayor’s Garden,” he tells the Monitor from the town, 220 miles north of the capital,Kampala. “It is only right that this thing which is being talked about in every corner of the world is also seen by the people whose story it sets out to tell.” (CSM http://bit.ly/zACCZq) (And you can read local NGO leader Victor Ochen’s full response to the film on UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/zffbt4 And view this video from Al Jazeera on the screening in Lira http://aje.me/yVw54e, which deemed it a flop).