The conviction of Thomas Lubanga is a milestone for the international criminal justice system established by the Rome Statute, and may make an important contribution to the development and definition of the right to reparations in international human rights law.
Article 75(I) of the Rome Statute requires the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “establish principles relating to reparations to, or in respect of, victims, including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation” for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity. As of March 2011, over 175 persons from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have applied for reparations in either the Lubanga case or others before the court.
Accompanying a submission filed with the ICC in advance of its reparations proceedings, ICTJ has produced a briefing note examining the practical and legal issues surrounding the process, as well as what lessons the ICC can learn from the broader experiences of the transitional justice field.
Although the ICC’s role in the administration of reparations is a relatively novel one, the court could review transitional justice mechanisms established in a number of post-conflict or post-dictatorship societies where reparations programs, truth-seeking processes, and domestic prosecutions have offered victims moral recognition, material help, and legal redress.
Photo: A former child solder at a center for demobilized children in the North Kivu province of the DRC. JOSE CENDON/AFP/Getty Images.