War crim­i­nals trans­ferred

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

HAGUE — Two for­mer Con­golese mili­tia lead­ers have been trans­ferred from the Nether­lands to a prison in the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo (DRC).

Thomas Lubanga and Ger­main Katanga are the first ICC con­victs to be al­lowed to serve sen­tences in their home coun­try.

For­mer war­lord Lubanga is serv­ing 14 years for his crimes, while mili­tia chief Katanga is due to be re­leased in 2016.

The ICC says it will help su­per­vise their im­pris­on­ment in the DRC.

Lubanga and Katanga “have both ex­pressed a pref­er­ence to serve their re­spec­tive prison terms in DRC, their coun­try of ori­gin”, the court said in a state­ment.

Their de­ten­tion in the DRC must con­form to in­ter­na­tional norms on the treat­ment of pris­on­ers, it said.

Lubanga was once one of the most feared rebel lead­ers in the gold-rich north-east­ern Ituri re­gion of the DRC.

He was found guilty of ab­duct­ing chil­dren as young as 11 and us­ing them to fight his bat­tles. Katanga was con­victed for his in­volve­ment in a bloody mas­sacre that left hun­dreds of vil­lagers dead. Last month, the ICC cut Katanga’s 12-year prison term af­ter he voiced re­gret and for good be­hav­iour.

But Lubanga’s re­quest for early re­lease was re­jected by the ICC as “un­jus­ti­fied”. The eth­nic con­flict in Ituri be­tween 1999 and 2003 is es­ti­mated to have killed 50,000 peo­ple.

—BBC

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