13:34 11 July 2012
Thomas Lubanga, the Congolese warlord, has been sentenced to 14 years behind bars for his part in recruiting child soldiers and implementing their services in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted him in March but the news of his sentencing is only just coming to light.
This is the very first conviction since the court was set up 10 years ago, the BBC have reported. The ICC is the world's only independent permanent tribunal to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Lubanga claimed he was wholly innocent of the accusations, but the judges made a unanimous decision deciding otherwise as the defendant made no signs of emotion.
The 51-year-old said "I am being presented as a warlord... but I never accepted or tolerated such enlistments taking place"
Judge Adrian Fulford told the court in The Hague that Lubango will most likely serve eight years in jail from now on, because he has already spent some years in jail. Both sides have 30 days to appeal the sentencing.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch says more than 60,000 people were killed in the conflict between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups in Ituri, in north-eastern DR Congo.
In June, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was pushing for a sentence "in the name of each child recruited, in the name of the Ituri region" and asked of the court to grant a sentence of 30 years.
Lubanga has long been associated to conflict in DR Congo. Human Rights Watch, a campaigning group, estimate that upwards of 60,000 people were slaughtered in the Hema/Lendu ethnic group conflicts in Ituri, in north-eastern DR Congo.
It has also been reported that United Nations troops and Democratic Republic of Congo troops are reinforcing Goma, a key city in the east of the country, against attack as rebels advance.
Multiple reports are suggesting that the M23, a group led by accused war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, has already taken other towns near its new stronghold in Bunagana and are heading for Goma to establish a stranglehold over the republic.
A UN official claims that since the M23 broke off from the government army and went rogue, its numbers have roughly doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 fighters.
"Nobody knows what the intentions of the M23 are right now," said the UN official. "Some have been seen going back along the road to Bunagana. Others are up fairly close to the small towns that they had taken.
"Our great concern is that the M23, having taken these towns, would then be planning some sort of advance against Goma."
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