Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga sits in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday welcomed as a “positive signal” the 14-year sentence given to warlord Thomas Lubanga but questioned if the International Criminal Court was too lenient.

“It's useful in teaching those who, after Lubanga, still play at being untouchable warlords. It's a positive signal for the future of peace in our region,” said Lambert Mende, a Congolese government spokesman said.

But Mende said the government would have preferred the court weighed other criminal allegations against Lubanga.

“He only faced the one charge of recruiting child soldiers. 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 DR Congo's northeastern Ituri region in 2002-03, in the ICC's first verdict since it started work a decade ago.

Some rights groups and Congolese observers had wanted the case to be broadened to include sex crime charges. - Sapa-AFP