Arusha, October 4, 2012 (FH) – The first convict of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thomas Lubanga has filed a notice of appeal to challenge his conviction and 14-year-jail term imposed in July 2012 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.

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"We filed our notice of appeal on Wednesday. We are contesting both conviction and the sentence,” the convict’s French lawyer, Jean-Marie Biju-Duval, told Hirondelle News Agency on Thursday.

On March 14, 2012, the Court found Lubanga guilty of war crimes for conscripting and using child soldiers to fight in Ituri (eastern Democratic Republic of Congo) from September 1, 2002 to August 13, 2003. At the time he was president of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC).

Lubanga, who has been in jail in The Hague since 2006, is the founder of the UPC and commander of its military wing the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC).

 On August 7, ICC Judges issued a decision, setting up procedure for reparations for victims of Lubanga’s crimes. But the defence has appealed to the Appeals Chamber against the ruling.

The ICC, the only world permanent court to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity has issued several arrest warrants for crimes in DRC. Apart from Lubanga, others are militia leaders, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo, currently waiting delivery of judgment.

 Others are two fugitives General Bosco Ntaganda, ex-leader of FPLC charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity and Sylvestre Mudacumura, Supreme Commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) armed branch, indicted for war crimes.

There was another case involving Callixte Mbarushimana, the FDLR Executive Secretary, who was released in December 2011 from the ICC custody after the judges of the court declined to confirm charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity he allegedly committed.