The International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down its first sentence yesterday, imprisoning for 14 years a Congolese warlord convicted of using child soldiers.
Thomas Lubanga was convicted in March of recruiting and using children in his Union of Congolese Patriots militia, sending them to kill and be killed during fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern Ituri region in 2002 and 2003.
Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford said the sentence reflected the need to protect children in wartime.
“The vulnerability of children means they need to be afforded particular protection,” he said at the sentencing hearing.
The 51-year-old Lubanga is the first person convicted by the 10-year-old permanent war crimes tribunal. Rights activists hailed the case as a milestone in efforts to prosecute the widespread use of child soldiers in conflicts around the world.
Prosecutors had asked for a 30-year sentence, but said they would be willing to cut it to 20 years if Lubanga offered a “genuine apology” to victims of his crimes.
Lubanga, wearing a gray suit and tie, showed no emotion as Fulford read out the sentence. He can appeal his conviction and sentence.
Fulford said that time Lubanga has served in pretrial detention since March 2006 would be deducted from the sentence.
It was not immediately clear where Lubanga would serve his sentence. The court has no prison cells for holding convicted war criminals, but has deals with seven countries to jail them — Denmark, Serbia, Mali, Austria, Finland, Britain and Belgium.
Fulford gave Lubanga three sentences of 13, 12 and 14 years each, respectively for conscripting, enlisting and using child soldiers, but the sentences are to be served concurrently. Conscripting involves abducting children and pressing them into military service while enlisting them can be voluntary.
Franck Mulenda, a legal representative for 140 victims in the case, welcomed the sentence.
“It is very important. It consoles the victims,” he said outside court.
He said he is now waiting for the court to order reparations for former child soldiers, “so they can get back their education and their place in society.”
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against