Arusha, July 10, 2012 (FH) –The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) Tuesday described the sentencing of Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga as a “milestone in the fight against impunity” in the troubled Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Trial Chamber I presided by Judge Adrian Fulford jailed to 14 years Lubanga for war crimes for conscripting and using child soldiers to fight in Ituri District from September 1, 2002 to August 13, 2003. At the time he was president of the Union des patriotes congolais (UPC).

“This sentence sends out a stark warning across the world to those engaged in the use of child soldiers that their criminal actions will land them in prison,” an official with the Coalition, Armel Luhiriri, said in a statement.

“As important as this day is for the ICC and the victims it seeks to assist, we must not forget that Lubanga’s co-accused, Bosco Ntaganda, remains at large and despite an ICC arrest warrant issued against him”, added Luhiriri.

According to him, Ntaganda allegedly continues to commit crimes in eastern DRC. “The Coalition therefore reiterates its call to States and the UN Security Council to do all it can to ensure that ICC fugitives such as Ntaganda are held accountable and brought before the ICC,” he said.

The Coalition for the ICC is a global network of more than 2,500 civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent of the court and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.