ICC-convicted former warlord released
Publish date: 23 March 2020
Issue Number: 865
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Former militia warlord Thomas Lubanga has been set free after serving a landmark 14-year term for war crimes handed down by the International Criminal Court (ICC). A report on the News24 site notes that the Congolese national was being held in a Kinshasa jail. In 2006, he was the first person to be arrested under an ICC warrant and he went on trial at The Hague accused of enlisting child soldiers. This after the Congolese Government authorised the ICC to investigate and prosecute 'crimes within the jurisdiction of the court allegedly committed anywhere in the territory of the DRC since the entry into force of the Rome Statute on 1 July 2002'. Legalbrief reports that a pre-trial chamber of the ICC found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Lubanga bore individual criminal responsibility for the war crime of 'conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities'. He was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment in 2012 and has served the full term. In 2015, he was transferred from the ICC prison to Kinshasa to serve out the rest of his sentence with fellow Congolese warlord Germain Katanga, who was also convicted by the ICC. One of Lubanga's lawyers, Papy Mayamba, said the ICC had used him as a 'guinea pig'.