International Criminal Justice

The African Legal Centre monitors and reports on the latest developments in international criminal justice and the tensions between African states and the International Criminal Court.

International Criminal Convictions

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

(FILES) Picture taken 03 June, 2003 showFound guilty, on 14 March 2012, of the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. Sentenced, on 10 July 2012, to a total of 14 years of imprisonment. Verdict and sentence confirmed by Appeals Chamber on 1 December 2014

Date of birth: 29 December 1960

Place of birth: Jiba, Utcha Sector, Djugu Territory, Ituri district, Orientale province, of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Nationality: Congolese

Ethnicity: Hema

Warrant of arrest issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I:
Issued under seal: 10 February 2006
Unsealed: 17 March 2006

Transferred to The Hague: 16 March 2006

Confirmation of charges hearing: 9 - 28 November 2006

Decision on the confirmation of charges: 29 January 2007

Opening of the trial: 26 January 2009

Verdict and sentence 

On 14 March 2012, Mr Lubanga Dyilo was convicted of committing, as co-perpetrator, war crimes consisting of:

  • Enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of 15 years into the Force patriotique pour la libération du Congo [Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo] (FPLC) and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the context of an armed conflict not of an international character from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003 (punishable under article 8(2)(e)(vii) of the Rome Statute).

The verdict was rendered by Trial Chamber I, composed of Judge Adrian Fulford (United Kingdom), as Presiding Judge, Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito (Costa Rica) and Judge René Blattmann (Bolivia). Although the first two judges have written separate and dissenting opinions on some issues, the verdict was unanimous.

On 10 July 2012, Trial Chamber I sentenced Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to a total period of 14 years of imprisonment. The time he spent in the ICC's custody will be deducted from this total sentence. He is detained, for the time being, at the Detention Centre in The Hague.


On 1 December 2014, the Appeals Chamber confirmed, by majority, the verdict declaring Mr Lubanga guilty and the decision sentencing him to 14 years of imprisonment.


On 7 August 2012, Trial Chamber I issued a decision on the principles and the process to be implemented for reparations to victims in the case, which is currently subject to appeal.  

Documentary: The Challenges of Impunity in Nigeria (2013)