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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.