Today, 7 August 2012, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided, for the first time in proceedings at the ICC, on the principles that are to be applied to reparations for victims in the context of the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who was found guilty, on 14 March 2012, of the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them to participate actively in hostilities. He was sentenced on 10 July 2012 to a total of 14 years of imprisonment. The Chamber ordered that proposals for reparations, as advanced by the victims themselves, are to be collected by the Trust Fund for Victims and presented to a newly-constituted Trial Chamber I for approval. Reparations will then be implemented through the resources of the Trust Fund for Victims that are available for this purpose.
The Chamber, composed of Judge Adrian Fulford (United Kingdom), Judge Elisabeth Odio Benito (Costa Rica), and Judge René Blattmann (Bolivia), considered that it is of paramount importance that the victims, together with their families and communities, participate in the reparations process, and they should be able to express their particular points of view and communicate their priorities.
In accordance with the Chamber’s decision, the potential beneficiaries of an order for reparations are the direct and indirect victims who suffered harm following the crimes of enlisting, conscripting and using children under the age of 15 in Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003. This includes the family members of direct victims, along with individuals who intervened to help the victims or to prevent the commission of these crimes.
The principles established by the Chamber particularly stress the need to ensure that reparations are implemented without any discrimination as regards age, ethnicity or gender, and they should be directed at reconciling the victims of child recruitment and their families and communities in Ituri, whilst preserving their dignity and privacy. Furthermore, the reparations measures are to be formulated taking into account the age of the victims and the sexual violence that they may have suffered, along with the need to rehabilitate the former child soldiers within their communities.