Child Soldier Reparations from ICC
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The International Criminal Court has fulfilled part of the original mandate envisioned under the Rome Statute and delivered the precedent of reparations for victims-in this case child soldiers.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) on August 7, 2012 announced that former child soldiers who suffered at the hands of convicted Congolese war criminal Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, may receive reparations from the Court's donor-financed Trust Fund for Victims.
The Fund's Executive Director, Pieter de Baan noted this means the Trust Fund's mandate to implement reparations will be activated for the first time in history.
The ICC found Lubanga guilty earlier this year of war crimes for enlisting and conscripting children younger than 15. Last month he was sentenced to 14 years in prison – the first-ever sentence handed down by the Court.
The Court's Trial Chamer I today decided on the principles that will govern reparations to "direct and indirect victims who suffered harm following the crimes of enlisting, conscripting and using children under the age of 15 in Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003", according to a press release issued by the Court. This includes the family members of direct victims, along with individuals who intervened to help the victims or to prevent the commission of the crimes.
Cynthia Chamberlain, a jurist with the International Criminal Court (ICC), said the Court decided that the reparations could take the form of restitution, compensation and rehabilitation, but that "symbolic reparations" were also envisaged, such as an apology by Lubanga. The Court also considered Lubanga's conviction and his sentence as examples of relevant symbolic reparations, she said.
Other forms of reparations may include campaigns to improve the position of victims; issuing certificates that acknowledge the harm they suffered; and outreach and promotional activities, along with educational programmes.
In its press release, the Court stressed that the resources of the Trust Fund for Victims are limited, and for the reparations award to have effect, it will need to receive sufficient voluntary contributions. Lubanga himself has been declared indigent and no assets or property referable to him have been identified to date.
The ICC is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression.
Currently, twelve ICC suspects remain at large, including another alleged recruiter of child soldiers, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Joseph Kony, whom the Court indicted in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Year of Production: 2012
Length: 2 mins
Country: United Nations
- Muhamed Sacirbey (UNTV-ICC)
- Susan Sacirbey (UNTV-ICC)