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Thomas Lubanga sentenced to 14 years for Congo war crimes

The international criminal court has handed down its first sentence, jailing for 14 years a Congolese warlord who recruited and used child soldiers. Thomas Lubanga was found guilty in March of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them to fight in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's eastern Ituri region in 2002-2003.

Lubanga, 51, is the first person convicted by the permanent war crimes tribunal.

The prosecution had asked for a "severe sentence" of 30 years. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, then chief prosecutor, said it was seeking the punishment "in the name of each child recruited, in the name of the Ituri region".

But the prosecution also said it would be willing to cut the sentence to 20 years if Lubanga offered a "genuine apology" to victims of his crimes.

Children as young as 11 were recruited from their homes and schools to take part in brutal ethnic fighting in 2002-03. They were taken to military training camps and beaten and drugged. Girls were used as sex slaves.

 

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The Guardian By David Smith

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