Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie watched the first ever International Criminal Court verdict on Wednesday in The Hague.
The historic ruling was for Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga and was the first ruling by the international court, which began its work a decade ago.
In a unanimous decision deliberated by three ICC judges, Lubanga was convicted for conscripting child soldiers.
"The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Thomas Lubanga is guilty of the crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities," presiding judge Adrian Fulford said to the courtroom while delivering the verdict.
The court found that under Lubanga the rebel Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) forced children as young as 11-years-old to be active fighters on the frontlines of the resource rich eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The ruling has been hailed around the world, including by Jolie, who serves as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
"This is their day. Where these children will feel there is no impunity for what happened to them, for what they suffered," the actress and human rights advocate said in a statement.
Navi Pillay, a former judge for the ICC and the current head of the U.N. Human Rights agency also welcomed the verdict calling it "a major milestone in the fight against impunity."
International legal experts and humanitarians around the world hope that Lubanga's high-profile case will set a much-needed precedent against war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, particularly against the use of child soldiers.
Lubanga has a month to appeal the verdict.