Press Release: 19 December 2015

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and Germain Katanga transferred to the DRC to serve their sentences of imprisonment


On 19 December 2015, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and Germain Katanga were transferred to a prison facility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC") to serve their respective sentences of imprisonment. This constitutes the first time that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has designated a State for the enforcement of imprisonment's sentences.

On 8 December 2015, the Presidency of the ICC designated the DRC as the State of enforcement for the sentences of imprisonment of Mr Lubanga and Mr Katanga, pursuant to article 103 of the Rome Statute. The Presidency emphasised that Mr Lubanga and Mr Katanga had each expressed a preference to serve their respective sentences of imprisonment in the DRC, their home country. The Presidency noted that the enforcement of the sentences of imprisonment shall be subject to the supervision of the Court and shall be consistent with widely accepted international standards governing the treatment of prisoners.

The transfer of Mr Lubanga and Mr Katanga to the DRC occurred with the close cooperation of the DRC authorities and the support of the Dutch and French authorities. On 24 November 2015, the ICC and the DRC finalised an ad hoc Agreement in respect of each sentenced person, expressing the willingness of the DRC to accept Mr Lubanga and Mr Katanga for the enforcement of their sentences of imprisonment and providing a framework to govern such enforcement.


Mr Lubanga was sentenced on 10 July 2012 to 14 years of imprisonment by Trial Chamber I, after having been found guilty of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. On 1 December 2014, the Appeals Chamber confirmed the conviction and sentence imposed. The time he has spent in the ICC's custody will be deducted from the sentence imposed. He has been detained at the ICC Detention Centre in The Hague since 16 March 2006.

Germain Katanga was sentenced, on 23 May 2014, to a total of 12 years' imprisonment after being  found guilty, as an accessory, of one count of crime against humanity (murder) and four counts of war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging) committed on 24 February 2003 during the attack on the village of Bogoro, in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The time spent by Mr Katanga in detention prior to being convicted was deducted from the sentence imposed. On 13 November 2015, a Panel of three Judges of the ICC  Appeals Chamber, specifically appointed by the Appeals Chamber, reviewed Germain Katanga's sentence and decided to reduce it. Accordingly, the date for the completion of his sentence is set to 18 January 2016.

The situation was referred to the Court by the DRC Government in April 2004. The Prosecutor opened an investigation in June 2004. In addition to the cases against Mr Lubanga and Mr Katanga, four cases have been brought before the ICC Judges. One accused, Bosco Ntaganda, remains in ICC custody. His trial started on 2 September 2015 and the hearings are scheduled to resume in January 2016. One suspect, Sylvestre Mudacumura, remains at large. Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui has been acquitted by ICC Trial Chamber II, and the charges were not confirmed against Callixte Mbarushimana.

For further information on the Lubanga case and the Katanga case, respectively, click here and here

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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