(via SourceFed) Remember KONY 2012? This is vaguely related to that. the International Criminal Court (ICC), the organization that put the warrant out for Kony's arrest (which Invisible Children, the charity that made the KONY video was promoting) has made their first conviction of an African warlord[I use this term, despite the criticisms about its validity, because the dude kidnapped children to use them for sex slaves and soldiers. I would love to have a discussion about whether that distinction is valid, or if it's just as Eurocentric as it would be if he wasn't a kidnapper and vicarious rapist, in comments.], Thomas Lubanga.
"The trial and the sentence has sent a very strong message about the seriousness of the crime of recruiting children and using them in war," said Human Rights Watch's (HRW) senior researcher Anneke van Woudenberg.
Reading out the sentence, presiding International Criminal Court Judge Adrian Fulford gave Lubanga prison terms of 13, 12 and 14 years respectively for conscripting, enlisting and using child soldiers. Those sentences will be served concurrently, with an overall sentence of 14 years. Deducted from that term will be time Lubanga spent in pre-trial detention since 2006.
By my math, that means he'll go to jail for about eight years. The judge criticized the prosecution's insufficient proof that Lubanga committed sexual crimes. Human Rights Watch expressed the opposite disappointment: that the prosecution didn't bring charges addressing the sexual crimes.
To my mind, it appears the ICC has managed to get this wrong in both directions. It's an easy institution to criticize on the basis that it's a massive overreaching of authority from what essentially consists of American and European legislators. The fact that they targeted Africa for their initial prosecutions lends credence to accusations of colonialism.
That said, they also massively under-sentenced considering the crimes we're talking about here. How is this not life in prison? If we have an international court, how are there options that aren't life in prison? This man orchestrated a large-scale system of child kidnapping, murder and rape. I can't imagine that, had he been tried and convicted in his home country, he would have gotten away with less than a hanging.
On this more than anything else I've written today, I'd love to hear commenters' thoughts.