Justice Update – Reparations Reality

Judge Chang-ho Chung who presided over the Ntaganda case (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)

Judges at the International Criminal Court in the case of Bosco Ntaganda  – a militia leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo – have ordered record reparations – $30 million – to child soldiers and other victims – that’s highest ever reparation order at the court. He had been sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2019 for murder, rape and other atrocities committed when he was military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-2003.

Ntaganda has been declared indigent – no money – so states will have to dig in their pockets. 

Meanwhile, Iraq’s parliament has passed the Yazidi Women Survivors Law, seven years since the horrific crimes and genocide committed by ISIS in the northern Sinjar province, where the Yazidi live. In the compensation section it says reparations should apply to “every woman Yazidi survivor who was kidnapped by ISIS and later liberated, in addition to women and girls from the Turkmen, Christian and Shabak minorities who were subjected to the same crimes mentioned,” and to men “who survived the mass killing”.

So, what does this all mean? How real are all these efforts? What difference will they make? We asked Karine Bonneau, from the Global Survivors Fund, set up to lobby for support for survivors of sexual violence.

We should also note that by the time you’ve listened to to this, the Trust Fund for Victims of the ICC will have organised a ‘Symbolic Reparation Ceremony for the Victims of the Destruction of Mausoleums in Timbuktu’ in connection to the reparations ordered in the al Mahdi case at the ICC, and here’s the link to the livestream.

For more background on the debates around how the ICC has tackled reparations and assistance to victims here are a few resources:

  • Check out our podcast with a wide range of experts, based on a webinar organised by Lorraine Smith van Lin together with Redress and Queens University Belfast.
  • One here also with Lorraine when she was at Redress, on what the Trust Fund for Victims has not been able to do.
  • Our written series on the TFV for justice.info.net