THE HAGUE - The Hague international war crimes court hands down its first verdict, on a Congolese warlord, on Wednesday after almost a decade of work limited largely to Africa while major cases in the Middle East and Asia remain beyond its reach.
Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, 51, was detained six years ago and faces charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over a 1998-2003 war, when tens of thousands were killed. He stands accused among other things of sending children into battle.
China, Russia and the United States, though they have not signed up to the court themselves, can use their votes on the United Nations Security Council to influence which cases it pursues. In practice, this means cases impinging on their interests are not pursued.