Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Congolese Warlord Thomas Lubanga gets 14 years in Jail

Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga on Tuesday was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. He was convicted by the International Criminal Court in March for recruiting and using children in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003. 

Lubanga will now serve 8 years in jail as he has already spent 6 years in custody. The 51-year-old man was the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since it was set up 10 years ago. 

He is accused of sending child solders to kill and be killed during war in Congo’s eastern Ituri region in 2002-2003. However, it is unclear where he would serve his sentence as the ICC has no prison for keeping the convicts. 

Judge Adrian Fulford's ruling reflected the need to protect children in wartime. The hearing could be termed as a milestone in efforts to prevent widespread use of child soldiers during conflict and war.  

Lubanga had played a key role in conflict between ethnic groups in Ituri, north-eastern DR Congo, which is estimated to have killed 60,000 people. 

He had led Union of Congolese Patriots, an ethnic Hema militia. It was active in the war, which began in Ituri region in 1999. 

The local conflict had left 5 million people dead, mostly from hunger and disease.

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