The Hague, August 25, 2011 (FH) - Prosecution delivered on Thursday its closing argument  in Thomas Lubanga's trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC), charging the accused with recruiting children for "fighting, raping and murdering".

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The former Congolese rebel, President of the Union des patriotes congolais (UPC), is charged with crimes against humanity for enlisting children under 15 in his troops during the conflict in Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2002-2003.

Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda first claimed that child soldiers were enlisted in the UPC military wing for "fighting, raping, murdering", adding that defendant was the "planner and organizer of the whole thing". She further said that nine child soldiers came to the stand to testify against the accused even though they feared reprisals.

Thomas Lubanga, dressed in an elegant blue suit and a yellow tie, stayed impassive during the speech.

Fatou Bensouda also showed the judges a video which she considers to be the ultimate proof against Lubanga. One could see on court's screens the accused reviewing his troops: "Look at the recruits' size...Look at their faces... Do you think they are older than 15?..." she asked the judges.

Actress Angelina Jolie attended the hearing in the public gallery, as she had already done during the trial.

Closing arguments will resume on Friday with the hearing of the Defence and Victims lawyers.

Lubanga's 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