Congo warlord jailed for 14 years in landmark case
THE HAGUE, (Reuters) - Delivering its first sentence, the International Criminal Court jailed Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for 14 years yesterday for recruiting child soldiers.
The Hague-based court was set up a decade ago to punish and discourage the world’s worst crimes through a system of international justice, but its critics say it has moved too slowly and failed to put its most important suspects on trial.
Lubanga was found guilty in March of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them to fight in a war in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. At least 60,000 people are thought to have been killed.
“The trial and sentence handed down today sends a strong message to those who recruit and use children during times of war,” said Anneke van Woudenberg of Human Rights Watch.
But taking into account the six years Lubanga spent in detention during the trial, Lubanga’s sentence has only eight years to run. He could get parole earlier.
Critics of the International Criminal Court questioned how big an achievement it could claim from sentencing Lubanga.