Arusha, October 18, 2012 (FH) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Union (AU) have since Wednesday been holding a three-day seminar in Addis Ababa to draw lessons from the case of the first ICC convict, former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga.

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Lubanga was sentenced on July 10 to 14 years in jail for war crimes, after the ICC found him guilty of conscripting children under 15 and using them to fight.

Through the Lubanga case, the seminar will allow participants to better understand the ICC’s judicial proceedings and the way it functions, as well as the challenges it faces and the need for support and collaboration from its States Parties, according to an AU press release.

Out of the 121 States Parties to the Rome Statute, 34 are African States. However, relations between the African Union and the ICC have been frosty, especially since the ICC indicted Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur. The AU has told its member states not to implement the ICC arrest warrant for Bashir.

The seminar is attended by staff of the African Union Commission and representatives of the ICC Prosecutor and Registry. It is sponsored by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

This is the second time the two institutions have held a joint seminar,following one in July 2011, also in the Ethiopian capital.