July 10, 2012 by David
The International Criminal Court has today sentenced former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to a total of 14 years in prison for using child soldiers in relation to hostilities in the Ituri region in DR Congo in 2002-2003.
Lubanga Dyilo, 51, was found guilty by Judges Adrian Fulford, Elizabeth Odio Benito and René Blattmann 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 Congo, from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003,” according to an ICC press release.
Presiding Judge, Adrian Fulford, further added that the Chamber had considered the gravity of Lubanga Dyilo’s crimes, and in particular, “the harm caused to the victims and their families, the nature of the unlawful behavior 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”.
Lubanga Dyilo’s time in prison, however, will be significantly shortened as the court also ordered that the time from his surrender in 2006 until today should be deducted from the sentence, effectively meaning that he will only serve eight of the 14 years he was given.
One of the Judges, Elizabeth Odio Benito, noted that she did not agree with the Majority’s decision to hand Lubanga Dyilo a relatively mild sentence, as it “disregards 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.”
The sentencing of Lubanga Dyilo is historical, as it will be the first to be handed to an individual since the ICC was set up The Hague in 2002 as a result of the 1998 Rome Statute.
See below for a Youtube video of today’s sentencing in Hague. You can also read the full court document released by the ICC by following this link, or see a handful of photos from today’s sentencing on the ICC’s official Flickr account.