Commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, 10 States Parties, and the Trust Fund for Victims conclude a joint programme monitoring visit to Uganda
From 19 – 23 February 2018, the Government of Ireland and Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) led a joint monitoring visit to northern Uganda.
The monitoring visit, initiated by the Government of Ireland, was aimed at reviewing the implementation of TFV projects in northern Uganda, meeting with victim survivors and affected communities who have been receiving the support from the TFV, and hearing how the assistance has made positive impacts to them.
Ambassador of Ireland to the Netherlands, Kevin Kelly, said, "In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, we have seen the results of the international justice system not only through the conviction of persons who have committed the gravest crimes, but also through the work of Trust Fund for Victims, providing assistance to survivors, remedies that they need to heal and rebuild their lives".
Participating delegates came to better appreciate the long term harm persisting in northern Uganda more than 10 years after the LRA conflict. Many more victim survivors are in need of assistance. Delegates committed to advocate for increased international awareness and support in order to allow the TFV to continue its programmes in northern Uganda, complementing the efforts of the Government of Uganda.
Recalling the commitment to victims and affected communities, President of the Assembly of States Parties, O-Gon Kwon called on States Parties of the Rome Statute to step up providing assistance to victim survivors. "States Parties should ensure perpetrators of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC are brought to justice, and guarantee the rights and needs of victim survivors are provided. During my mandate I will do my utmost to promote the important work of the Trust Fund for victims and the need for sufficient funding to carry out its mandates".
Speaking on behalf of the government of Uganda, Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mirjam Blaak thanked the government of Ireland and the TFV for this joint-mission. She said, "I have seen tremendous progress made in providing assistance to victims through the TFV projects. The government of Uganda has a long standing cooperation with the ICC and TFV, and made the first referral to the ICC. The government commits to continue its support to the TFV in assisting many more victims, their families and local partners, to sustain lasting impact in the country.
Mama Koité Doumbia, TFV Board member said, "Any harm caused by war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide is significant and must be addressed". She added, "The central importance of Rome Statute is to provide the rights and needs of victims, including the rights to receive reparations and assistance they need. This effort should to be strengthened in order to achieve long-term reparative justice to victims."
10 States Parties participated in the visit, including President of the Assembly of the States Parties, representatives from the government of Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Uganda, United Kingdom, and the European Union.
The TFV has been implementing the assistance programme in northern Uganda for 10 years since 2008, providing medical rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, and livelihood support across 18 districts. More than 45,000 people have directly benefitted from the programme, and indirectly, about 200,000 people, who are either family or community members.