THE HAGUE  - The International Criminal Court jailed Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga for 14 years Tuesday for using child soldiers in his rebel army, the first sentence to be handed down by the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal.The Hague-based court's prosecution and rights groups welcomed the sentence, saying it sent a clear warning against using child soldiers, but some activists regretted the charges had not been broadened to include sexual crimes and the Democratic Republic of Congo questioned if the sentence was too light."It's a positive signal for the future of peace in our region," said Lambert Mende, a government spokesman in the Congolese capital Kinshasa said. "We note simply that crime doesn't pay, and regardless of the low sentence against Lubanga, I think it's nonetheless something that will weigh on the minds of would-be warlords wherever they are," Mende added.Lubanga, 51, was convicted in March of war crimes, specifically for using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002-03, in the ICC's first verdict since it started work a decade ago. The former militia commander was sentenced by a three-judge bench for his part in a war in the gold-rich northeastern Ituri region, where rights groups say some 60,000 civilians were killed between 1999 and 2006. He had been found guilty of abducting children as young as 11 from homes, schools or football fields and forcing them to fight and commit atrocities.Presiding Judge Adrian Fulford said the court credited Lubanga with the time he already spent behind bars since March 2006, meaning he will spend eight more years in prison. Lubanga had pleaded not guilty. But Fulford criticised the prosecution's handling of the case and singled out former chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, saying "Mr Lubanga was put under considerable unwarranted pressure by the conduct of the prosecution."Lubanga's trial started in early 2009, but stalled in mid-2010 after the prosecution refused to disclose the name of an intermediary to the defence, prompting the court to order Lubanga's release. That order was later reversed. Judge Fulford added that prosecutors did not prove Lubanga was involved in any sexual crimes committed against children. "Nothing suggests that Mr Lubanga ordered or encouraged sexual violence or that it could reflect his culpability," Fulford said.Prosecutors - who asked for a 30-year-sentence against Lubanga - said the sentencing sent a strong signal. "Judges have sent a clear message to perpetrators of crimes: you will not go unpunished," a statement issued by the prosecutor's office said.Armel Luhiriri, a liaison officer for the Coalition of the International Criminal Court, added the sentence "sends out a stark warning across the world to those engaged in the use of child soldiers that their criminal actions will land them in prison."Also accused of enlisting child soldiers in the same ICC case is Bosco Ntaganda, who was one of Lubanga's top aides at the time and now runs a group of mutineers called M23 and battling government troops in the east."It is obvious that Bosco Ntaganda is just as guilty as Thomas Lubanga, even more guilty," government spokesman Mende said."As a consequence civilians pay the highest price," prosecutors said in the statement referring to Ntaganga adding "this must end" and again calling for his arrest.Andre Kito, coordinator for the DR Congo's Coalition for the ICC, regretted that the court failed to cover the full scope of Lubanga's crimes."Civil society organisations and victims still regret that the scope of charges was not broad enough since other crimes perpetrated such as sexual violence, summary executions and pillage were excluded," he said.Lubanga, who has been detained in The Hague since 2006, is the founder of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), whose military wing is accused of killing hundreds of civilians.Lubanga's team has not yet indicated whether it would appeal his conviction or sentencing. The prosecution said it was "studying the judgment in detail and will consider whether or not to appeal."Six countries have indicated their willingness to accept prisoners sentenced by the ICC: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Finland, Mali and Serbia.The ICC, the world's only independent permanent tribunal to try genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity has issued four arrest warrants for crimes in the DR Congo since opening its doors in 2003.The ICC is investigating crimes in seven different countries, all of them African.