A tough ICC sentence for rebel commander Thomas Lubanga, convicted of recruiting and using child soldiers from 2002 to 2003, sets precedent for seven other pending war crimes cases.
With his 14-year prison sentence for the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, announced today, Thomas Lubanga became the first person in history to be sentenced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
Mr. Lubanga’s case has been closely watched because the ICC is quickly becoming the court of last resort for developing countries that do not have the capacity to try cases of gross human rights violations, war crimes, and genocide. In addition to the Lubanga case, the ICC is investigating seven cases – one of them involving a sitting head of state, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir – all of them from Africa.
Lubanga had been convicted in March 2012. He reportedly showed no emotion today when the sentence was read by Judge Adrian Fulford on Tuesday morning. It is unclear at this time where Lubanga will serve the remaining eight years of his sentence (he has spent six years in custody already, since his arrest in 2006.) Six countries have agreed to host ICC convicts in their prisons: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Finland, Mali, and Serbia.
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