Fumbling Justice: ICC Sentences former Congolese Warlord, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to 14 years and criticizes Ocampo’s handling of the casePosted: 20 July, 2012
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands issued its first sentence since its inception in 2002, sentencing Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (see sentencing judgment), former president of the Union Patriotes Congolais (UPC) to a 14 years jail term on child soldier charges. The sentence is in sharp contrast to the 50-year sentence handed down to Charles Taylor for his involvement in sponsoring the civil war in Sierra Leone in May this year, and reactions were varied, with some calling it too lenient and others praising the measured and coherent sentence and its reasoning.
Lubanga was found guilty on 14 March 2012 of conscripting, enlisting and using children under the age of 15 years to participate actively in hostilities in the Ituri Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between 1 September 2002 and 13 August 2003.He was arrested and transferred to The Hague in 16 March 2006 for his involvement in a long-running civil war for political and military control in the Ituri region in the eastern DRC after being referred to the ICC by DRC President Kabila. Mr Lubanga will receive credit for time served in detention, and will effectively serve an 8-year sentence unless the sentence is overturned by an appeals chamber.
In November 2011 a Kenyan High Court Judge made history. Justice Nicholas Ombija made a controversial ruling issuing an arrest warrant for President Omar Al- Bashir of Sudan in the event he visits the Republic of Kenya. The arrest warrant was held as valid pending a full Appeal on Tuesday 20 December 2011 by the Kenya Court of Appeal after the Attorney General, Githu Muigai, rushed to court claiming that Judge Ombija’s ruling was creating ‘international anxiety in International circles’. The Attorney General of Kenya appealed the ruling on the arrest warrant and also applied for a stay on the arrest. The stay was denied pending hearing of the appeal. ICJ-Kenya has raised a preliminary objection citing that the Attorney General of Kenya under the 2010 constitution is not the competent representative of the Kenya Government in criminal cases like the All Bashir case. His decision upheld, Justice Ombija issued a provisional arrest warrant for President Bashir on Monday 23 January 2012. It was served on the Minister of Internal Security, Geroge Saitoti, ordering him to arrest President Bashir and hand him over to the ICC if he steps on Kenyan soil.