The Adjudication Process and Reasoning at the International Criminal Court: The Lubanga Trial Chamber Judgment, Sentencing and Reparations
The article analyzes certain aspects of the first judgment issued by the International Criminal Court, as well as the accompanying decisions relating to sentencing and the principles according to which reparations will be awarded to victims of the convicted individual, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Specifically, the article addresses: (i) the considerable amount of time that elapsed between the close of trial and the issuance of the judgment in the Lubanga Case; (ii) the Trial Chamber’s failure to adequately clarify in its judgment certain aspects of the crimes with which Mr. Lubanga was charged; (iii) the lack of clarification in the sentencing decision regarding the relationship among factors relevant to the sentence and the means by which the majority of the Chamber reached its conclusion that 14 years was the appropriate length of the sentence; and (iv) the purpose and timing of the Chamber’s decision relating to reparations. In sum, the article finds that, while the overall approach of Trial Chamber I in presiding over the Court’s first trial is to be commended, and the judgment is largely sound, the Court and its constituents – including the parties, affected communities and the broader public – may be better served if future Trial Chambers strive to deliver judgments within a shorter period of time, while also ensuring that their reasoning on the crimes charged is fully explained. Furthermore, future decisions on sentencing will benefit from greater clarity. Finally, Trial Chambers in other cases should reconsider whether it is wise to issue any decisions on reparations prior to a final judgment on the guilt of the accused.