By Moco McCaulay
On March 14, human rights activists and especially victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo, celebrated the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) pronouncement of a guilty verdict on Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a former Congolese warlord, for “the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003.”
This was the first guilty verdict issued by the ICC and it has been hailed as a historic victory for international justice and especially as a warning notice to warlords everywhere that they will be held accountable by the international community for violations of war crimes committed by their rebel armies.
And now, the world awaits April 26 for the final verdict announcement by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in the trial of Charles Taylor, former president of the Republic of Liberia, who has been charged with “11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of human rights” for his allege support for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Sierra Leonean rebel group that waged an 11-year brutal civil war in that country. As I conjectured in an earlier article (Immovable Judgment Day: The Die Has Been Cast for Charles Taylor), all the signs seem to portend that Taylor too will be found guilty. And once again, human rights activists will celebrate how that verdict will go down as a watershed moment in the annals of international justice.