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International court jails Congolese ex-warlord 14 years for war crimes

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THE International Criminal Court (ICC) has sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in jail for using child soldiers in his rebel army, in the tribunal’s first

THE International Criminal Court  (ICC) has sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in jail for using child soldiers in his rebel army, in the tribunal’s first such order.

Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court yesterday said the Chamber, composed of Judge Adrian Fulford, Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito and Judge René Blattmann, also ordered that the time from Lubanga’s surrender to the ICC on March 16 2006 until today should be deducted from this sentence.

Lubanga Dyilo was found guilty, on March 14, 2012, of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities in the Ituri region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , from  September 1, 2002 to  August 13, 2003.

According to Abdallah, the Presiding Judge, Adrian Fulford, who delivered a summary of the Trial Chamber’s decision during an open hearing held yesterday explained that the Chamber considered the gravity of the crimes in the circumstances of the case, with regard, inter alia, to the extent of the damage caused, and in particular “the harm caused to the victims and their families, the nature of the unlawful behaviour and the means employed to execute the crime; the degree of participation of the convicted person; the degree of intent; the circumstances of manner, time and location; and the age, education, social and economic condition of the convicted person”.

Also, the judge highlighted that the crimes for which  Lubanga had been convicted, comprising the crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities, “are undoubtedly very serious crimes that affect the international community as a whole.”

Judge Fulford added that the “vulnerability of children mean that they need to be afforded particular protection that does not apply to the general population, as recognised in various international treaties”.

He indicated that the Chamber had, however, reflected certain other factors involving Lubanga, namely his notable cooperation with the Court and his respectful attitude throughout the proceedings.

Abdallah said Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito wrote a separate and dissenting opinion on a particular issue as she disagreed with the Majority’s decision to the extent that, in her view, it disregarded the damage caused to the victims and their families, particularly as a result of the harsh punishments and sexual violence suffered by the victims of these crimes.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary, William Hague in a speech at The Hague  yesterday said he was proud of the role played by British Judges sitting in the Courts and Tribunals based in The Hague, including Sir Christopher Greenwood, Sir Adrian Fulford, Howard Morrison and Theresa Doherty.

He said: “The International Criminal Court and the tribunals are of course far from perfect. They have been criticised for the length and cost of their proceedings.

And it remains the case that billions of people in 70 countries are still outside the protection of the Rome Statute.”

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Balram 29/08/2013 06:13:09
I think it is important to note the pilhgt of women in Congo. There are horrible things that have been done to women and girls in that one province for the last 20 years. Women and girls in general are regarded as 2nd class or lower, especially in the rural areas. Check out school enrollment, work load, inclusion in decision making on nearly all matters including marriage, children, education and occupation. Read the book Half the Sky It will change you. I am glad your experiences have been overwhelmingly positive but you are Canadian, male, have money (sort of), and you are free to choose everything about your life. African women are far from that, indeed women around the world are as well. Just say'n there is a dark side that needs to be revealed so that it can be changed for the better B
Ericka 30/08/2013 03:24:15
Barbara, you are absolutely right. In fact, I was <a href="http://focgjxbkym.com">hanvig</a> this exact conversation with a friend just last night.Women are certainly respected less in this culture than we're used to in the Western world. I've also noticed that most education and business opportunities are handed to male children only, just as you mentioned. Every time I meet a girl who's received a post-secondary education, I immediately invite them for coffee so I can hear all about the experience and the reasons their family decided to grant them such an opportunity.Poverty, crime, and war itself are most certainly present. I still, however, stand by my feeling that the news blows these stories out of proportion.I appreciate your insight as I know you're well connected to this part of the world.
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Jorge 07/09/2013 15:10:20
I have read with deepending cocnren the harsh criticism on the Kony2012 campaign. The vast majority of the critiques, while castigating what they perceive as a typical western' NGO's paternalistic and patronising view of Africa, also impose their own (largely western') normative notions and ideologies of what is morally acceptable in a campaign' , much abstracted from local realities' on the ground. While criticising the video as being simplistic, these critiques also advance their own simplistic and narrow minded idealised views of what they perceive to be the voices of local communities' local agency' or the role of indigenous Ugandans'. These critiques beg several observations:One: Communities in Northern Uganda are not a homogenous, monolythic group with a single view on the peace vs Justice' debate or indeed whether and how to proceed with the Kony/LRA menace. These critiques therefore fail to recognise the very complexity they advocate for in the divergent and conflicting views in the local communities in question. Unfortunaltely, the Peace versus Justice' documentary by Klaartje Qurijns also simplifies the debate by portraying the two ends as binary and mutually exclusive.Two: The view (though in a simplified form) appeals to our common and shared humanity, what in some African philosphy is termed Ubuntu. With increased globalisation and interdependency (not all globalisation is evil), our common destiny and obligation to stand up for the voiceless is implicit and thats what the camoaign attempts to do. I'd much rather have a global action that may lead to drawing attention to an issue of such grave cocnren, provoking global debate on how to respond and hopefully leading to consideration of appropriate action, than total inaction or ineffectual slactivism' that only serves to assuage our conscience without leading to any real change. Consequently, the question as to whether Uganda’s future depends on American activism and the users of social media is equally simplistic and one sided, while the campaign highlights one component of the solution: International pressure and action, it doesnt by default delegitimise the importance of local agency. A campaign is single issue focused and is not the place to turn to if one is looking for a nuanced, multifasceted dissection of social issues and to expecta that is in itself erroneous.Three: Although its common knowledge born by historical evidence that humanitariana nd development NGOs tend to have an inbuilt self-perpetuating approach to their programmes, the question as to who actually benefits from this increased international attention' reveals the cynicism prevalent in the avalanche of armchair criticism of the Kony 2012 campaign. An approach that the agent of such an action is guilty until proven innocent' is counter-productive. Its ironic and perhaps redundant that the writer should ask such a question, having given testimony in the very same article to the observation that If there is one thing the Kony2012 case shows, however, it is that these types of campaigns are uniquely capable of creating worldwide attention and putting old (and often forgotten) issues back on the international agenda'.Indeed, the campaign is already galvanising action within the African union for a renewed attempt to resolve the LRA question. While projections that military action may lead to more civilian casualties, the reluctance of Kony to embrace dialogue and his withdrawal from the Juba peace talks leaves little alternatives. Evidence from Angola's long civil war shows that the removal' of a rebel leader (Jonas Savimbi), could easily lead to cessation of conflict and a return to peace. Every analysis of the LRA structure suggestst that the capture or killing of Joseph Kony will most definitely be the end of the LRA, an outcome that few would disagree with. http://aqosidjrav.com cdajsbo [link=http://uvywutyo.com]uvywutyo[/link]
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