Statement: Office of the Prosecutor on Lubanga sentence
By sentencing Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to 14 years in prison for the crimes of enlisting, conscripting and using children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities, International Criminal Court judges have sent a clear message to perpetrators of crimes: you will not go unpunished. The Prosecution had requested a longer sentence in line with the gravity of the crimes and the aggravating circumstances. The Prosecution is now studying the Judgment in detail and will consider whether or not to appeal. The Prosecution is also expecting to hear the judges’ decision on reparations in order to ensure the victims of Lubanga’s crimes see the full-scale of justice.
The ICC’s Prosecution continues to conduct investigations in the situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where violence is still ongoing and escalating. The local populations including children continue to be exposed to the dramatic consequences of war at the hands of armed groups supported by regional actors. Civilians are used as a bargaining tool in the search for power and economic gain. In the context of this situation, an arrest warrant was issued in 2006 by the Court for Bosco Ntaganda who is among those responsible for this situation. The Prosecution has recently asked for new charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes to be brought against him, including for murder, persecution, intentional attacks against civilians, rape and sexual slavery and pillaging. Recent information has surfaced that a new group called M23 associated with him has reverted to violence and armed confrontation against the DRC army. As a consequence civilians pay the highest price. This is unacceptable and must end. Those responsible for these crimes should be isolated, arrested and brought to justice. This is the only way to put an end to this vicious cycle of violence, reprisals and attacks against the civilian population in Eastern DRC.
Source: Office of the Prosecutor