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Thomas Lubanga: Congolese warlord first person ever sentenced by ICC (+video)

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The ICC’s former prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo called for a 30-year sentence for Lubanga, who led a rebel group called the Union of Congolese Patriots from 2002 to 2003. Human Rights Watch estimates that 60,000 people were killed in that brief conflict in the eastern Congo region of Ituri. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that it was commanders such as Lubanga, as well as Lubanga’s enemies, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, and Lubanga’s ally, Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who bore the most responsibility for those deaths, and for the ruined lives of the recruited child soldiers.

"These children were told to kill and rape,” Ocampo told the court last month. “That was the education he [Lubanga] gave these children."  

Created by the Rome Statute in 1998, and brought into existence in 2002 as a “permanent institution that shall have the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concern,” the ICC is an experiment in international justice. There have been international tribunals before, for the war crimes of Nazi commanders, for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, for the war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

In May, a former head of state in Liberia, Charles Taylor, was convicted of war crimes by an international tribunal for the civil war in Sierra Leone, which was also hosted by The Hague.

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