Date set for DRC’s Lubanga sentencing

2012-06-29 22:39
Former Congolese militia commander Thomas Lubanga. (AFP)

Former Congolese militia commander Thomas Lubanga. (AFP)

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The Hague - Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, convicted of using child soldiers in a brutal conflict in the central African nation, will be sentenced on July 10, the International Criminal Court said on Friday.

Lubanga, 51, was convicted in March of war crimes for using child soldiers in his rebel army in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-03, in the ICC's first verdict since it started work a decade ago.

Judges said in a court document that Lubanga's sentence would be pronounced in open court at 07:30 GMT on 10 July.

He was found guilty of abducting children as young as 11 and forcing them to fight and commit atrocities in the DRC's north-eastern gold-rich Ituri region. During the trial prosecutors told how young girls served as sex-slaves, while young boys were trained to fight.

The Hague-based court's former chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo called earlier this month for a 30-year sentence against Lubanga, saying his crimes were "of the most serious concern for the international community".

If the judges decide his crimes were exceptionally severe, Lubanga, who has been detained in The Hague since 2006, could face life in jail.

Lubanga, the founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and commander of its military wing the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), has maintained he was innocent of the charges against him.

Up to 60 000 people have been killed in the mineral-rich area since 1999, humanitarian groups say.

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