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Lubanga Sentence Review Postponed to August

The hearing to determine whether Thomas Lubanga’s 14-year prison sentence can be reduced will not be conducted tomorrow as had earlier been scheduled. It will instead be held on Friday, August 21, at 9:30 AM local time in The Hague.

According to a July 8 rescheduling order, the postponement is to allow the presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider an application by defense lawyers for the disqualification of Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi from the Appeals Chamber handling the review. A plenary session of judges was scheduled to convene today to consider the defense application,

As of tomorrow, Mr. Lubanga will have served two-thirds of the prison sentence handed him in March 2012.  At the time of sentencing, he had been in court custody for nearly six years, which would be deducted from the 14-year sentence.

The court’s rules stimulate that once a convicted person has served two-thirds of their sentence, or 25 years in the case of life imprisonment, judges can decide to reduce their sentence.

Article 110(4) of the Rome Statute provides that the court may reduce the sentence if it finds that one or more of three factors are present. These are:

(a) The early and continuing willingness of the person to cooperate with the Court in its investigations and prosecutions; (b) The voluntary assistance of the person in enabling the enforcement of the judgments and orders of the Court in other cases, and in particular providing assistance in locating assets subject to orders of fine, forfeiture or reparation which may be used for the benefit of victims; and (c) Other factors establishing a clear and significant change of circumstances sufficient to justify the reduction of sentence, as provided in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Mr. Lubanga, the former president of the Union of Congolese Patriots and its armed wing known as the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC), was convicted for recruiting, enlisting, and using children under 15 years old in armed conflict. His appeals against the conviction and the sentence were rejected.