Case Comment: Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo In the Case of the Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

Benarji Chakka


On 1st July 2012, the International Criminal Court (ICC)[i] celebrated its 10th anniversary, meanwhile it had even concluded its first ever review meeting of its statute – stock taking, which took place in Kampala, Uganda during 31st May to 11th June 2010.[ii] If we look into the work of the ICC during these 10 long years it has delivered only a single judgement with much fanfare on the situation relating to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the case of the Prosecutor v .Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.   Nonetheless, one cannot really pass a judgement about an institution whether it is a success or a failure by looking at its decade long history. However, it is a long time for the victims of international crimes, who suffered and continued to suffer to get the justice and reparation from an international institution, which supposed to render justice to the victims and put an end to the culture of impunity of international crimes in international law.

After six prolonged years of arguments and delays in the trail process of the present case in discussion, the Trial Chamber of the ICC delivered its judgement on 12th March 2012. The international community has been arguing that this judgement contributes to the development and improvement of the normative practice of international criminal law. They further argued that this judgement may offer invaluable insights on the role of international criminal justice system. However, the present notes may not be intended to provide a comprehensive analysis of the entire case at hand, but it is an attempt to focus on two major issues which are very pertinent to the development of international criminal law and international humanitarian law. These two pertinent issues include first, the classification of armed conflict in DRC by the ICC and second the narrow indictment of charges of rape and sexual violence, where in the country the sexual abuses are amongst the highest in the world.

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