Trust Fund for Victims submits draft implementation plan for collective reparations to victims in the Lubanga case
In a landmark and unprecedented submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC), on November 3, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) filed the draft implementation plan for collective reparations to victims in the case against Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.
The Trust Fund's draft implementation plan comes in response to the Judgement and Amended Order for Reparations issued against Mr Lubanga by the ICC Appeals Chamber on 3 March 2015. Mr Lubanga was convicted of conscription, enlistment, and the use of child soldiers under the age of 15 years in the Ituri district in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during 2002-2003.
The Trust Fund's plan is part of a first initiative to respond to the suffering of victims of atrocity crimes under the Rome Statute and in this case seeks to address the rightful needs of thousands of child soldiers who were trapped in the conflicts that plagued eastern DRC.
Motoo Noguchi, Chair of the Trust Fund Board of Directors stated, "This submission is a milestone in the history of the Trust Fund and is especially so for the outgoing Board members. I am confident that it will contribute to the establishment of legally sound and operationally feasible mechanisms for reparations within the framework of the Rome Statute."
The TFV submission consists of two main parts: a legal filing and the draft implementation plan. The filing discusses the main legal and operational challenges related to the translation of the Appeal Chamber's judgement and reparations order into a draft plan to design and implement reparations awards to the victims.
The Trust Fund's draft implementation plan provides a detailed programmatic response, in the form of an integrated collective reparations award to be implemented over a three year period. The plan proposes to holistically address and rehabilitate the harm suffered by former child soldiers, as well as indirect victims of the crimes for which Mr Lubanga was convicted.
The Court declared that Mr Lubanga is liable for reparations but has yet to establish the amount of his liability. If the Court determines that Mr Lubanga is indigent for the purpose of reparations, the Trust Fund Board of Directors is prepared to complement €1 million to implement the draft reparations plan for victims in Ituri. In accordance with Trust Fund Regulation 56, this complement was devised in view of the scope and form of the draft implementation plan, the availability of TFV resources under its reparations reserve, in consideration of obligations under the Trust Fund assistance mandate, and taking into account ongoing legal proceedings that may give rise to additional reparation awards.
In developing and drafting the filing and draft implementation plan, the Trust Fund sought and obtained the support of a wide variety of actors. In May 2015, an international meeting of experts was convened in Belfast at the Ulster University, Transitional Justice Institute, to discuss and analyse the various legal and operational challenges of implementing Court-ordered collective reparations to victims in the Lubanga case. From May through July 2015, the Trust Fund conducted targeted consultation missions in Ituri, DRC, with a view to informing affected communities and potentially eligible victims about the Court's reparations order and to solicit their specific feedback concerning the appropriate modalities of reparations within the scope of the reparations order.
At the request of the Trust Fund, the Victims' Participation and Reparations Section of the ICC Registry conducted a victim mapping study in Ituri, which provided important information on the scope of victimisation and the location of potentially eligible victims. Other sections of the Registry provided support in the area of logistics, security, outreach, and external cooperation.
The Trust Fund Board of Directors convened meetings in March and July of 2015 to monitor progress and provide guidance to the Trust Fund Secretariat in the development of the filing and the draft implementation plan. The Executive Director Pieter de Baan said, "I am extremely proud of the tremendous effort of the Secretariat's staff in The Hague and in the field, under the leadership of the Senior Programme Officer Kristin Kalla and with essential contributions by Scott Bartell and Katharina Peschke, to develop an implementation plan for collective reparations to former child soldiers that holds the promise of real and meaningful redress for the harm that they have suffered. This is the first time that a practical step is taken in the direction of fulfilling the promise of reparative justice to victims under the Rome Statute. Once the plan is approved by the Court, the Trust Fund is fully committed to follow through on a successful implementation, in consultation and coordination with the victims themselves and with all others who have a stake in the successful delivery of these reparations."