Monday, July 9, 2012
Human RIghts Watch has issued the following press release, relating to the expected sentencing this week before the International Criminal Court:
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is scheduled to impose its first sentence on July 10, 2012, in the case of Thomas Lubanga, who faces up to 30 years in prison.
Lubanga is the former president of the Union of Congolese Patriots, a Congolese rebel group implicated in many serious human rights abuses. He was the first person arrested and brought before the ICC to be tried. Lubanga was found guilty on March 14 for recruiting children to be soldiers and using them in hostilities in the Ituri district of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2002 and 2003.
The ICC trial chamber, in determining the sentence, will consider the gravity of the crimes, Lubanga’s personal circumstances, and any aggravating or mitigating factors. Under the ICC statute, the maximum prison term if the number of years is specified is 30 years. A life sentence may be imposed when justified by the extreme gravity of the crime. The court can also order a fine against the accused. In the case of Lubanga, the ICC prosecutor has asked for a 30-year sentence.
“The sentence against Lubanga should be fair and reflect the gravity of the crimes for which he was convicted,” said Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Lubanga’s sentence is important not only for the victims who want justice done, but also as a warning to those who use child soldiers around the world.”
The decision on the sentence can be appealed.
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Lubanga case, please visit:
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Lubanga’s co-accused Bosco Ntaganda, please visit:
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the ICC, please visit:
Hat tip to Human Rights Watch