Congolese warlord gets 14 years behind barsListen /
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for recruiting and using child soldiers in his rebel group between 2002 and 2003.
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) said although it was not possible to establish the number of children recruited as soldiers, the practice was nonetheless widespread.
The court criticized former prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's handling of the case, saying some of the allegations against Mr Lubanga, including sexual violence, were not proven.
The judges said they had taken into account the period the accused had spent in detention court and his good conduct during the trial in arriving at the sentence, which means Lubanga will spend a maximum of eight years in prison.
Justice Adrian Fulford was the presiding Judge.
"The majority sentences Mr Lubanga for having committed jointly with other persons the crime of conscripting children under the age of 15 into the UPC to 13 years imprisonment. For having committed jointly with other persons the crime of enlisting children under the age of 15 into the UPC to 12 years imprisonment and for having committed jointly with other persons the crime of using children under the age of 15 to participate active in hostilities to 14 years imprisonment. The total period of imprisonment on the basis of the joint sentence is 14 years imprisonment. The crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities, are undoubtedly very serious crimes, it involves exposing them to real danger as potential targets. The vulnerability of children means that they need to be afforded particular protection that does not apply to the general population as recognized in various international treaties."
The Thomas Lubanga sentencing is the first by the International Criminal Court since it was established 10 years ago.