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ICC suspends release of Congo ex-militia leader Lubanga

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Monday granted [decision, PDF; press release] the suspensive effect of the prosecutors' appeal [PDF] against the release of Congolese ex-militia leader Thomas Lubanga [ICC materials; BBC profile]. The granting of the appeal means that Lubanga will not be released until a final decision is made by the ICC. Late last month, the ICC imposed an indefinite stay [order, PDF; JURIST report] on Lubanga's war crimes trial due to prosecutorial misconduct, concluding that Lubanga would be unable to receive a fair trial. The court subsequently ordered Lubanga set free [JURIST report] but agreed to suspend his release for five days, giving the prosecution time to appeal. AFP has more.

Once the leader of the Union of Patriotic Congolese [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], Lubanga is charged with using child soldiers [JURIST report; BBC report] in his militia, which is believed to have committed large-scale human rights abuses in Congo's violent Ituri district [HRW backgrounder]. He became the first war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC after he was taken into custody [JURIST reports] in March 2006. Lubanga's long-delayed trial [JURIST report] is scheduled to be the ICC's first since its creation in 2002.

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