former Congolese rebel is charged with crimes against humanity for enlisting
children under 15 in his troops.
Ngorkaba Lambi Lonja was an initiator and a member of the Union des patriotes
congolais (UPC), Thomas Lubanga militia in Ituri (East of the RDC). He told the
Court that he had met Lubanga in 1984, and then again in 2000 when they decided
to create the UPC.
in French, Lonja explained that the UPC was a political movement created to
fight the domination of a rebel movement, RCD-Kis, who had taken control of the
Ituri region "but was not doing anything to ensure the population's
security and well-being".
further said that feeling threatened, Lubanga sought he could find help in Uganda. He was
actually arrested in Kampala and extradited to Kinshasa. where he was
sent to jail for a few weeks.
August 2002, after many twists and turns, UPC finally took control of Ituri
with the help of Ugandans.
counsel Jean-Marie Bikou-Duval asked the witness if the UPC then tried to
demobilize children under 18. "Yes, after the UPC assumed responsibility
for managing Ituri and restructured the army, Lubanga as president of the UPC
and secretary of national defense issued a decision to demobilize all soldiers
under 18 years of age", Lonja answered.
the military did not fully implement it as Lubanga issued the decision twice
more - in November 2002 and January 2003.
trial opened on January 26, 2009. The accused had been incarcerated in Kinshasa since March 2005 before being transferred to The Hague in March 2006.
Hirondelle News Agency