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14 January 2015

International courts are increasingly looking at ways to compensate victims of crimes for their suffering. For its first issue in 2015, IJT 173 is thus focusing on reparations. Our correspondents examine the reparations controversy at the ECCC, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge tribunal; developments at the ICC; disgruntled victims in northern Uganda; and the story of Srebrenica survivor Hasan Nuhanovic, who won a landmark civil case against the Dutch government for compensation.

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ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Copyright Flickr/ICC-CPI
13 January 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg

Speculation continues to mount over the next step of the office of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after, in the final hours of 2014, Palestine officially ratified the Rome Statute to become the 123rd member of the court.

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Painted portrait of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (Flickr/home_of_chaos)
13 January 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

The Ugandan military on Tuesday announced that notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen would be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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People wait in line to see the opening statements of Case 002 at the ECCC on 23 November 2011. Copyright Flickr/krtribunal
13 January 2015 by Julia Wallace and Kuch Naren, Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

Chum Mey and Bou Meng spend a large part of the day, every day, sitting across from each other. The two elderly Cambodian men are among only a handful who survived a stint in the hellish S-21 prison, where over 12,000 people were jailed, tortured and sent to their deaths in a killing field outside Phnom Penh.

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Germaine Katanga at International Criminal Court. Copyright Flickr/ICC-CPI
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.

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Entrance of Dutchbat compound in Potocari near Srebrenica. Copyright Joost van Egmond
13 January 2015 by Joost van Egmond, Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Over a year after the highest court in the Netherlands held the Dutch state responsible for the fate of his father and brother, who were killed after the fall of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995, Hasan Nuhanovic still awaits satisfactory compensation. His case is often cited as crucial for damages claims to come, for Srebrenica and beyond.

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Local drama group depicts crimes allegedly committed against civilians during armed conflict in northern Uganda. Copyright Flickr/ICC-CPI
13 January 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Gulu (Uganda)

Gloria Laker struggles to support her three children and four siblings in Paicho, in northern Uganda’s Gulu district. Her husband and parents were killed in the two-decade-long war between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and government troops. Despite a promise made by President Yoweri Museveni in 2010 to provide compensation to over 10,000 war-affected victims in the Acholi sub-region, Laker, like thousands of others, has never received anything.

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17 December 2014 by Thierry Ogier, São Paulo (Brazil)

As international human rights organizations praised the 10 December report of Brazil’s truth commission on military regime-era torture, victims and surviving families expressed indignation. The official report on human rights violations from 1946 to 1988 came after a 30-month investigation led by the National Truth Commission, locally called the CNV [IJT-170]. 

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17 December 2014 by Una Hajdari, Pristina (Kosovo)

Plans to form a special court for prosecuting crimes allegedly committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) gained ground last week with the election of a new prosecutor and Pristina’s announcement of a new government.

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ICTR plaque
17 December 2014 by Clive Muhenga, Arusha (Tanzania)

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), officially closing at yearend, has contributed tremendously to the global fight against impunity. Over 20 years, it has issued 60 convictions and produced a treasure of jurisprudence. But it has not fulfilled its entire mandate, say analysts who point to a failure to prosecute former rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the country’s leading party.

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