International Criminal Court Awards $30 Million To Congolese Warlord’s Victims

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Excerpt

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in a reparation order, awarded the victims of Congolese Warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, USD 30 million.

Background

Mr Bosco Ntaganda, also known as “Mr Terminator”, is a militia leader, who carried out a range of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the mineral-rich north-eastern region of Ituri between 2002 and 2003. Mr Ntaganda was responsible for planning and running operations for the Union of Congolese Patriots (UCP) rebels and its military frontier, the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC). The armed rebels conducted attacks against people who were perceived not to belong to the Hema ethnic group. In one notable incident, the militia group butchered 49 people.

On 8th July 2019, the ICC issued its judgment against Mr Ntaganda of five counts of crimes against humanity and thirteen counts of war crimes, namely: murder and attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, forcible transfer of population, intentionally directing attacks against civilians, pillage, ordering the displacement of the civilian population, conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years into an armed group and using them to participate actively in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against the protected objects, and destroying the adversary’s property. He was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment. An appeal had been filed against the conviction and sentencing by Mr Ntaganda’s legal team, which is currently in motion.

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On 25th July 2019, Judge Chang-ho Chung issued an Order for the Registry to provide information relevant to the reparation proceedings. On 5th September 2019, the Registry submitted its preliminary observations and responses thereto filed on 3rd October 2019, by the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence, LRVs, and TFV. After that Order, the Court had to determine the amount that was to be awarded to the victims and set the criteria for how many people would be eligible to receive these reparation sums. 

Reparation Order of the International Criminal Court 

On 8th March 2021, the ICC under Judge Chang-ho Chung, Judge Robert Fremr, and Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia, following a 97-page judgment, awarded the victims USD 30 million (€25.3 million). The Court restated that a reparation order must contain five elements: (i) it must be directed against the convicted person; (ii) it must establish and inform the convicted person of his or her liability concerning the reparations awarded in the order; (iii) it must specify and provide a reason for the type of reparations ordered, be they collective, individual, or both; (iv) it must define the harm caused to direct and indirect victims as a result of the crimes of which the person was convicted, as well as identify the modalities of reparations that the Chamber considers appropriate in the circumstances of the specific cases before it; and (v) it must identify the victims eligible to benefit from the awards for reparations or set out the criteria of eligibility based on the link between the harm suffered by the victims and the crimes of which the person was convicted. 

The Court stated that the inclusion of these elements was vital for its proper implementation as it ensured that the critical elements of the order were subject to judicial control, in light of rule 97(3) of the Rules, and also signed with respect to the right of appeal, provided for in Art 82(3) of the Rome Statute. In light of the consideration of these elements, evidential review, amongst others, the Court awarded direct and indirect victims of the atrocities with a collective total of USD 30 million, which was to be potentially divided amongst as many as 100,000 people.

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A copy of the Reparation Order can be found here.


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About the Author

Moshiuzzaman
Moshiuzzaman holds a 2:1 LL.B degree from BPP University (UK). He is currently pursuing the CFA chartership and working as an independent legal researcher at the American Society of International Law (ASIL)
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