A banner year for victims’ reparations at the International Criminal Court?

13 January 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Despite lingering uncertainties, the final convictions of two Congolese warlords raises hopes that this year victims will see reparations handed to them by the International Criminal Court.

Germaine Katanga at International Criminal Court. Copyright Flickr/ICC-CPI
Image caption: 
Germaine Katanga was sentenced by the ICC to 12 years of imprisonment in May 2014 (Flickr/ICC-CPI)

The Hague-based court is the first in the history of international criminal justice that can order a convicted perpetrator to pay reparations to victims. Two cases currently meet the criteria. In December, the appeals chamber confirmed the conviction [IJT-171] of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. In 2012, he was found guilty of war crimes for enlisting, conscripting and using child soldiers – mostly from his ethnic group, the Hema – during the wars in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second case is that of Germain Katanga [IJT-159, 1JT-160IJT-163], whose rebel group had been fighting Lubanga’s militias. Katanga was convicted last March of crimes against humanity and war crimes for a 2003 attack on the predominantly Hema village of Bogoro.

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
19 February 2007 by Laetitia Grotti

One year ago on January 6, 2006, the 17 members of Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER) were closing up shop after submitting their final report to King Mohammed VI. The Moroccan truth commission had received a flood of compliments from the international community praising the recommendations in its report, especially those advocating legislative and constitutional reforms. One year later, however, the results have been rather mixed.

article
11 September 2006 by our correspondent in Arusha

After having tried high-ranking officers, ministers, businessmen, priests, journalists, local officials and militiamen, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is in uncharted waters. On September 11, the most famous rwandese troubadour of his generation will stand trial for genocide. 

article
23 October 2006 by Christine Chaumeau

China is keeping a polite distance from international criminal justice. Beijing is hardly disinterested, but China does want to make sure that these new global mechanisms are not going to infringe upon its sovereignty by delving into particularly sensitive cases such as Tibet. 

article
United Nations Operation in Burundi disarms rebel forces in Mbanda in February 2005 (Photo: Flickr/UN Photo/Martine Perret)
03 June 2015 by Janet H. Anderson, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Over the last month, Burundi has hit the headlines as the president put himself forward to be elected for a controversial third term, resulting in street protests, thousands of refugees who fled instability and an attempted coup. Behind the issues of elections and constitutionalism are also those of justice following Burundi’s long-running civil war. The international community supported an intensive process of negotiation and the signing of the Arusha Accord in 2000. But in the decade and a half since, its provisions on justice have been debated though never fully implemented.

article
06 November 2006 by Pierre Hazan

France's attitude towards international criminal justice is marked by ambiguity. Paris subscribes to a vision of the world in which international humanitarian law is considered a way to curb violence against civilian populations, but at the same time it is wary of an unchecked judicial system that could end up prosecuting French soldiers engaged in areas where it has old and deep-rooted interests.