By 11/07/2012 07:20:00
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.”