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Prosecutor to seek 'maximum' penalty for Lubanga

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-03-15

The International Criminal Court will aim for the "maximum" sentence against Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, its chief prosecutor said on Thursday. Lubanga was convicted by the ICC on Wednesday of abducting children and forcing them to fight.

AFP - The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said Thursday he would seek "close to the maximum sentence" for Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, convicted of using child soldiers.

"If we are going to ask one year per child we should go far beyond the maximum of 30 years provided by the Rome Statute," Luis Moreno-Ocampo said a day after Lubanga's conviction.

"We will seek a sentence close to the maximum," he added.

The ICC on Wednesday found Lubanga guilty of using child soldiers during a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, its first verdict since starting work almost a decade ago in a move hailed by the UN and world powers.

Lubanga, 51, was convicted, six years after his arrest, of abducting children as young as 11 and forcing them to fight and commit atrocities in a gold-rich region of the country.

The Congolese warlord -- thought to be the founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and chief commander of its military wing -- was sent to The Hague in 2006 and put on trial in early 2009.

The ICC, the world's only permanent tribunal to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity has issued four arrest warrants for crimes in the DR Congo and is investigating seven cases, all in Africa.

Lubanga, who has denied the charges against him, will be sentenced at a date yet to be determined.

He risks 30 years in jail or, if judges decide the crimes are exceptionally grave, life in prison.

The prosecutor would make his submission for sentencing on April 18, Moreno-Ocampo said.

Date created : 2012-03-15

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