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March 13: discuss the International Criminal Court and (and with) child soldiers

March 13: Discuss war crimes with international law expert Golzar Kheiltash and a former child soldier from Congo

When: Tuesday, March 13 registration starts at 7:00; presentation and discussion 7:30 to 8:45 PM

Where: Butler University, Jordan Hall Room 141.

The creation of the International Criminal Court has established a new venue for investigating and prosecuting war crimes, despite a lack of U.S. participation. Will the non-participation of the U.S. weaken the power of the ICC? What challenges are faced by the ICC in punishing war criminals?

As part of the Indiana Council on World Affairs Great Decisions series, we have a very unique chance to hear first hand reports about the current evolution of the International Criminal Court. The ICC is launching its first case, formally charging Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (the onetime leader of the country's Union des Patriotes Congolais) with "war crimes of enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of fifteen years." Although the US has opposed the ICC, fearing that American soldiers or policymakers could be subject to prosecution, it has cooperated in the case against Lubanga.

Explaining the significance of this development will be Indianapolis favorite, Golzar Kheiltash, of Citizens for Global Solutions. Golzar combines a rigorous academic legal background with strong advocacy skills to promote international legal norms and mechanisms that can prevent and punish the most heinous crimes such as genocide. Golzar has researched, analyzed, and advocated for the ICC in a personal and professional capacity for the last seven years, and currently coordinates the Washington Working Group on the ICC (WICC).

As Golzar said recently: "Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is exactly the type of person for whom the ICC was created -- a warlord who has forced children as young as nine to commit murder, rape, and mutilation, often against their own family members." She has been working closely on the case in DC and The Hague.

Tuesday March 13 at Butler University Golzar will be joined by two special visitors to Indianapolis. In a recent visit to the ICC, Golzar met Bukeni Beck, an activist and filmmaker who seeks to revealing the plight of child soldiers and to give these children a second chance. Beck documents the stories of hundreds of child soldiers on film, revealing a stark and systematic cycle of recruitment and conscription, narrated by the children and their families in their own words. His films demonstrate the difficulties of many children who want to reintegrate into their communities after leaving the camps. This is especially true of girl soldiers who have suffered the added brutality of rape and sexual violence at the hands of their commanders.

Bukeni and Golzar will be accompanied by "Madelaine," a fifteen year old former girl soldier from Congo.

What a fantastic opportunity to hear how these terrible issues are being addressed at a global and multilateral level, and at a local level as well.

For more information on AJEDI Ka/Projet Enfants Soldats, please visit: www.ajedika.org. For more information about Citizens for Global Solutions, please visit: www.globalsolutions.org.
For more information about the visit of Golzar and friends, contact Rich Stazinski at rstazinski@globalsolutions.org; and for information about the ICWA Great Decisions program, contact Bob Reardon at jrreardon@ccrtc.com.

If this sounds like an interesting event, make sure you check out Golzar, Bukeni, and "Madelaine" on March 14 when Bukeni shows and discusses some of his films about child soldiers and their rehabilitation.

The cost for a couple to attend this talk is $5.

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