Congo Warlord Gets 14 Years for Using Child Soldiers

ICC hands down first-ever sentence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2012 9:36 AM CDT
Congo Warlord Gets 14 Years for Using Child Soldiers
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga awaits his sentence in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague today.   (AP Photo/Jerry Lampen, Pool)

(Newser) – Congo warlord Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced to 14 years in prison, which is longer than many of the child soldiers in his rebel army had been alive when he commanded them in the country's civil war. The sentence was handed down by the International Criminal Court, which found Lubanga guilty earlier this year in its first-ever verdict. The judge deducted the six years Lubanga has been in custody, so he will serve another eight years at most, the BBC reports.

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The court heard testimony on the kidnapping and physical and sexual abuse of child conscripts, but the presiding judge decided there was no evidence that the abuse happened on Lubanga's orders, reports the Financial Times. "But Mr Lubanga was aware that in the ordinary course of events this would occur," the judge said, describing him as "well-educated and intelligent." The judge accused the prosecutor, who sought a sentence of 30 years for Lubanga, of making errors and failing to submit evidence to support his claims. (Read more Democratic Republic of Congo stories.)

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