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Pillay: Lubanga ruling major milestone in fight against impunity

GENEVA (14 March 2012) – UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay on Wednesday hailed the International Criminal Court verdict in the case of Thomas Lubanga, who was found guilty of recruiting and using child soldiers in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2002 and 2003, saying it is "a great step forward for international justice and a major milestone in the fight against impunity."

“For many years, and on a daily basis, we have been documenting gross violations of human rights of the sort perpetrated by Lubanga against the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Pillay said. “The Lubanga verdict sends a strong signal against impunity for such grave breaches of international law that will reverberate well beyond the DRC.”

The High Commissioner stressed that while the primary responsibility for prosecuting human rights violations that constitute international crimes lies with States at the national level, the International Criminal Court has a vital role to play when States are unable or unwilling to ensure justice for major international crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

"Two decades ago, international justice was an empty threat," she said. "Since then a great deal has been achieved, and the coming of age of the ICC is of immense importance in the struggle to bring justice and deter further crimes."

ENDS

OHCHR country page - Democratic Republic of the Congo http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AFRICARegion/Pages/ZRIndex.aspx

For more information or for media requests please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or press officer Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org)

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