|Birth Day:||December 29, 1960|
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He was born in Djiba and studied at the University of Kisangani, where he earned a degree in psychology.
Lubanga was born on 29 December 1960 in Djiba in the Ituri Province of the Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville). He is of the Hema-Gegere ethnic group. He studied at the University of Kisangani and has a degree in psychology. He is married and has seven children.
During the Second Congo War, Lubanga was a military commander and "minister of defence" in the pro-Uganda Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement (RCD-ML). In July 2001, he founded another rebel group, the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC). In early 2002, Lubanga was sidelined from the military control of the RCD-ML and he split from the group. In September 2002, he became President of the UPC and founded its military wing, the Patriotic Force for the Liberation of the Congo (FPLC).
Under Lubanga's leadership, the largely Hema UPC became one of the main actors in the Ituri conflict between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups. It seized control of Bunia, capital of the gold-rich Ituri region, in 2002, and demanded that the Congolese government recognise Ituri as an autonomous province. Lubanga was arrested on 13 June 2002 while on a mission to Kinshasa but he was released ten weeks later in exchange for a kidnapped government minister.
The UPC was forced out of Bunia by the Ugandan army in March 2003. Lubanga later moved to Kinshasa and registered the UPC as a political party, but was arrested on 19 March 2005 in connection with the killing of nine Bangladeshi United Nations peacekeepers in Ituri on 25 February 2005. He was initially detained in one of Kinshasa's most luxurious hotels but after a few months he was transferred to Kinshasa's central prison.
In March 2004, the Congolese government authorised the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute "crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed anywhere in the territory of the DRC since the entry into force of the Rome Statute, on 1 July 2002." On 10 February 2006, a Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Lubanga bore individual criminal responsibility for the war crime of "conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities", and issued a sealed warrant for his arrest.
On 17 March 2006, Lubanga became the first person ever arrested under an ICC arrest warrant, when the Congolese authorities arrested him and transferred him into ICC custody. He was flown to the Hague, where he has been held in the ICC detention centre since 17 March 2006. Before embarking the plane, Lubanga wept openly. As of January 2009, he is one of four people being detained by the ICC, including two rebels who fought against Lubanga in the Ituri conflict: Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. His trial opened on 26 January 2009.
On 14 March 2012 Lubanga was found guilty of abducting boys and girls under the age of 15 and forcing them to fight in a war in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. He faced a maximum sentence of 30 years when sentenced in July 2012.
On 10 July 2012, Lubanga was sentenced for 14 years by the ICC The sentencing was a landmark for the first permanent international criminal court, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Presiding judge Adrian Fulford said the time Lubanga had spent in the court's detention centre in The Hague would be taken into account, meaning his sentence has only 8 more years to run.
During the first review in October 2015, Lubanga pleaded with ICC judges to grant him early release, promising to promote reconciliation and offering “sincere apologies for all victims for the suffering they endured.” In September 2015, judges decided not to reduce Lubanga’s sentence after finding that there were no factors in favor of his early release. They found no evidence that he had genuinely dissociated from his crimes and also determined that Lubanga had not taken any significant action for the benefit of victims of his crimes. In the second review decision, judges ruled that there had been no changes in Lubanga’s cooperation with the court or in his actions to benefit victims. In December 2015, Lubanga was transferred to the DRC to serve the rest of their sentence from their home country’s Makala prison.
In November 2017, ICC judges Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Howard Morrison, and Piotr Hofmańsk declined to reduce Lubanga’s sentence, after determining that since the initial review of the sentence two years earlier, there had been no significant change in circumstances to warrant his early release. The judges also stated that they saw no reason to schedule a further review of Lubanga’s sentence.
On 15 March 2020, Lubanga was released after serving the 14-year sentence.
Currently, Thomas Lubanga is 62 years, 3 months and 1 days old. Thomas Lubanga will celebrate 63rd birthday on a Friday 29th of December 2023.
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