ICC prosecutor seeks 30-year term for Congolese warlord

AMSTERDAM Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:11pm EDT

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, convicted by the International Criminal Court in its first ever ruling, should be sentenced to 30 years in prison for using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Lubanga was found guilty of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them to fight in a five-year jungle war that killed some 60,000 people in the east of the country around the turn of the century.

"Children were trained by terror. They were trained to kill and to rape. The children were launched into battle zones where they were instructed to kill everyone regardless of whether they were men, women, or children," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said in a statement, demanding the court's maximum sentence of 30 years.

The International Criminal Court convicted the 51-year-old militia leader in March but did not decide on a sentence at the time.

It was not clear when it would issue a sentence.

The prosecutor told the court he would recommend a reduced sentence of 20 years if Lubanga showed genuine remorse by helping to prevent future crimes.

"He has to use his leadership and position of respect to promote peace, advocate for measures to unify and heal and improve injured communities, promote reconciliation and the reintegration of the child soldiers back into the communities, in particular the girls raped," the prosecutor said, as well as by promoting education.

Last month, former Liberian President Charles Taylor was jailed for 50 years by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), another war crimes court in The Hague, for aiding and abetting rebels in Sierra Leone.

Taylor, 64, was the first head of state convicted by an international court since the trials of Nazis after World War Two, and the sentence set a precedent for the emerging system of international justice.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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