Congolese warlord sentenced for using children as soldiers

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The Hague, Jul 10: The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday sentenced a Congolese warlord to 14 years of jail for using children as soldiers.

The punished, Thomas Lubanga, was convicted in March for recruiting children in his Union of Congolese Patriots to take up arms and fight in the country's eastern Ituri region during 2002-03. Lubanga, 51, is the first person convicted by the 10-year-old permanent war crimes tribunal. Welcoming the ruling, rights activists said it would serve a milestone in future efforts to prevent the use of children as soldiers in conflict zones.

Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford said Lubanga's sentence reflected the necessity to protect children at the time of conflicts.

The prosecutors had initially asked for a 30-year sentence, but said they would settle for 10 years if Lubanga tendered a genuine apology to his victims. Lubanga, however, did not show any emotion during the hearing. He can appeal his conviction. It was, however, not clear where Lubanga would serve his sentence. The ICC has no prison cells for convicted war criminals. Lubanga was sentenced for 13, 12 and 14 years for conscripting, enlisting and using children as soldiers but the sentences would have to be served concurrently.

OneIndia News

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