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.

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