Katanga case: Reparations Order largely confirmed
Today, 8 March 2018, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its Judgment on the appeals confirming, for the most part, the Reparations Order in the case The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga. Judge Howard Morrison, the Presiding Judge in this appeal, read a summary of the judgment in a public hearing.
The Appeals Chamber rejected the appeals of Mr Katanga and of the Office of Public Counsel for Victims. The Appeals Chamber indicated, inter alia, that, for the amount of reparations for which a convicted person is held liable, it is, in principle, irrelevant whether other individuals may also have contributed to the harm. The Appeals Chamber expressed concerns regarding the Trial Chamber's approach in the reparations proceedings and its efficiency. Namely, the Appeals Chamber highlighted that, with regard to reparations, focusing on the cost to repair, rather than the monetary value of the harm caused, is appropriate in light of the overall purpose of reparations. The Appeals Chamber, however, indicated that the approach adopted by the Trial Chamber did not amount to an error of law or abuse of discretion.
In relation to the appeal brought by the Legal Representative of Victims on behalf of five applicants who claimed reparations in the present case for transgenerational harm suffered on account of their parents' experience during the attack, the Appeals Chamber decided to remand the matter to the Trial Chamber for it to assess anew the question of the causal nexus between the crimes for which Mr Katanga was convicted and the psychological harm and whether they should be awarded reparations.
Background: On 7 March 2014, Mr Katanga was found guilty as an accessory on one count of a crime against humanity (murder) and four counts of war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging). On 23 May 2014, he was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment. His sentence was later reduced and was completed on 18 January 2016.
On 24 March 2017, Trial Chamber II issued an Order for Reparations in the amount of $1,000,000 USD against Mr Katanga pursuant to article 75 of the Statute (hereinafter "Order for Reparations"). Therein, the Trial Chamber ordered awards for reparations to 297 identified victims, comprised of an individual symbolic compensation award of $250 to each victim and of four collective awards to all victims, in the form of (1) housing assistance, (2) education assistance, (3) income generating activities, and (4) psychological rehabilitation. The Trial Chamber instructed the Trust Fund to submit a draft implementation plan tasking the Trust Fund with implementing the individual and collective awards contained in the Order for Reparations.
In light of Mr Katanga's indigence, the Trial Chamber had requested that the Trust Fund's Board of Directors consider complementing the payment of both the individual and collective awards ordered against Mr Katanga. In May 2017, the Trust Fund's Board decided to provide $1 million for the reparations awarded to victims in the Katanga case covering the full amount of the costs of the reparations awards ordered by the Trial Chamber. The Board also welcomed a voluntary contribution of €200,000 by the Government of The Netherlands, which included earmarked funding to cover the cost of individual awards. On 25 July 2017, the Trust Fund presented its draft implementation plan to the Chamber.
Appeals against the order for reparations were filed respectively by Mr Germain Katanga, the Legal Representative of Victims and the Office of Public Counsel for Victims. The Appeals Chamber in this appeal is composed of Judge Howard Morrison, Presiding Judge, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert and Judge Piotr Hofmański.
For further information on the case, click here.
For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected]