On 15 December 2017, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision setting the amount of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo's liability for collective reparations at USD 10,000,000. The decision completes the Order for Reparations of 3 March 2015 in the case of The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, which awarded collective reparations to the victims of the war crimes committed by Mr Lubanga, namely: conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 into an armed group (Union des patriotes congolais/Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo) and using them to participate actively in hostilities.
The Chamber examined a sample of 473 applications representative of all of the victims potentially eligible for reparations and concluded that 425 of them were most likely direct or indirect victims of the crimes of which Mr Lubanga was convicted. The Chamber stated, however, that further evidence established the existence of hundreds or even thousands of additional victims affected by Mr Lubanga's crimes. The Chamber also stated in this respect that some potential victims were no longer willing or able to take part in the reparations process for safety reasons.
The Chamber recalled that the scope of a convicted person's liability is proportionate to the harm caused and, among other things, his or her participation in the commission of the crimes for which he or she has been found guilty, in the specific circumstances of the case. The Chamber further recalled that only collective reparations were awarded in this case. The Chamber assessed the harm suffered by the aforementioned 425 persons recognized as victims of Mr Lubanga at USD 3,400,000, and equitably assessed Mr Lubanga's liability exclusive of the harm suffered by those persons at USD 6,600,000 – bringing the total amount of Mr Lubanga's liability for collective reparations to USD 10,000,000.
In view of Mr Lubanga's indigence, the Chamber invited the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims to examine the possibility of earmarking an additional amount for the implementation of collective reparations in this case and/or continuing its efforts to raise additional funds. The Chamber also instructed the Trust Fund to make contact with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to explore how the Government might contribute to the reparations process.
On 21 October 2016, the Chamber had approved the implementation of symbolic collective reparations and, on 6 April 2017, it had approved the first stage of the implementation of service-based collective reparations, directing the Trust Fund to begin the selection of implementing partners (after which the Chamber may approve the second stage of the implementation process). The Chamber will decide in due course on the next steps in the implementation of collective reparations.
The members of the Trial Chamber II Bench are Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (Presiding Judge), Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Judge Péter Kovács. The Chamber issued its decision publicly in a hearing at the seat of the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands. The Legal Representatives of both groups of victims, the Office of Public Counsel for Victims, the Defence and the Trust Fund were in attendance.
Published on the ICC on December 15, 2017
After more than 24 years of operations, the United Nations tribunal set up to prosecute crimes committed during conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s, has now completed all judicial work, the court’s President told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.
“Despite all the sceptics, the naysayers, the deniers who, from the very beginning, embarked on a campaign against the Tribunal and have been at pains to question our legitimacy and integrity and portray a doomsday scenario, I am proud to appear before this esteemed Council today and say: mission accomplished,” declared Carmel Agius, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in his final briefing to the 15-member body.
Recalling the Security Council’s decision to create the Tribunal back in May 1993, Mr. Agius stated: “In retrospect […] the establishment of the ICTY was one of the international community’s proudest moments.”
Noting that the body had developed a completion strategy and delivered judgements in the final trial case against Ratko Mladic on 22 November and the final appeal case against Jadranko Prlic et al. on 29 November, Mr. Agius said that in supporting the creation of the court, his predecessors had put their signature on an important page in the history of international justice and the fight against impunity.
There was another history, however, he said, namely of those who were afraid to accept the Tribunal and even denounced it, “of those who did not choose to fight impunity, but, for reasons of political or personal gain, blind nationalism and ethnic hatred,” preferred immunity and even glorified those who had committed atrocities.
The Tribunal’s achievements did not begin and end in The Hague, where the body is headquartered, Mr. Agius continued. He was disturbed by the numerous crimes yet to be prosecuted before domestic courts in the Former Yugoslavia. The rise of revisionism and nationalism throughout the region could not be ignored.
“Do not delude yourselves; the absence of war does not mean peace,” he said. Ending impunity for mass crimes is not the preserve of any one institution – it is a common goal that ties all together in the shared quest for justice, peace and stability.
In closing, President Agius stated: “As the international community now looks on while mass crimes continue to take place, even as I speak, and geopolitical roadblocks impede any kind of comprehensive justice solutions, we must not forget the political courage that sparked the ICTY’s existence, the Tribunal’s long trajectory, and the need to stay the course.”
Beyond the Tribunal’s success, reconciliation remains a significant challengeTheodor Meron, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, affirmed that the Tribunal had made plain that even complex trials could and must be conducted in accordance with the panoply of due process guarantees. As a result, the principles of international law were stronger and, “accountability for grave crimes is increasingly the expectation rather than the exception.”
Describing the current activities of the Residual Mechanism, which will maintain the Tribunal’s legacy and carry out its remaining functions, he said it is “serving as a new, effective and efficient model of international court” in carrying out duties such as preparations for administration disposition of records, in further developing its legal and regulatory framework and working on provision of assistance to national jurisdictions.
The fulfilment of the Mechanism’s mandate depends on the ongoing support of the Council and the broader international community and on the commitment to all concerned to the invaluable legacies of the tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
In his remarks, the Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals, Serge Brammertz, said his Office remains focused on expeditiously completing the limited number of trials and appeals transferred from the ICTY and on locating and arresting the remaining eight fugitives indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
He acknowledged that the Tribunal failed to achieve reconciliation in the Former Yugoslavia, where many still viewed convicted war criminals as heroes while victims and survivors were ignored and dismissed. “The reality is that there is still no true will within the region to accept the immense wrongdoings of the past and move forward – sadly, most of all among the political leadership,” he said.
Too many people listen to war criminals, who hide behind claims of collective responsibility, when in fact no community bore responsibility for what those men had done. He emphasized that justice is an essential precondition for achieving reconciliation.
Published on UN News Centre on December 6, 2017
By Eric Oteng
Two Africans have been elected as judges of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Netherlands during the Assembly of State Parties meeting in New York on Wednesday.
The election procedure required a two/thirds majority of eighty votes for one to be elected as a judge of the International Court which adjudicates on cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity..
After four rounds of voting, Justice Reine Alapini-Gansou from Benin and Justice Solomy Bossa of Uganda got elected with a total of eighty three (83) and eighty one (81) votes respectively.
Ghana’s Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu failed in her bid to join the court as she ended with a total of sixty votes which fell short of the votes required.
Elected judge of the ICC, Reine Alapini Gansou is a Lawyer to the Bar of Benin since 1986 and Law lecturer at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin) since 2000.
Justice Alapini Gansou is the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights since 2009.
She has been a member of the Commission since 2005 and was formerly the Special Rapporteur on Rights of Human Rights Defenders in Africa (2005-2009).
She served as a member of the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration since July 19, 2011, and Laureate of the Prize of Human Rights for the Fiftieth year of African Countries independence in 2010.
Her good works saw her selected as a member of the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on post-electoral violence in Cote d’Ivoire (May-June 2011)
She holds two High Level University degrees, in Common Law at the University of Lyon in 2007 and in Environmental Law and Politic at the University of Lome, Maastricht and Bhutan in 1999.
She is also an author and co-author of research papers in Human rights and Law.
Justice Solomy Balungi Bossa on the other hand is a national of the Republic of Uganda who was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in June 2014, for a term of six years.
She has served as Judge with the High Court or Uganda for sixteen years (1997-2013).
She also served the East African Court of Justice for five years (2001-2006), the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) for nine and half years (2003-2013) and currently serves as Judge on the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court for Uganda.
She was once a Lecturer/Law Reporter at the Law Development Centre of Uganda for seventeen years (1981-1997).
She is a member of the International Commission of Jurists, the international Association of Women Judges, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights and the East African Judges and Magistrate’s Association, among others.
At national level, she is a member of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Uganda Chapter, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Uganda Association of Judges and Magistrates.
She also participated through the aegis of the International Commission for Jurists, in the initial stages of drafting of the Additional Protocol on Women to the African Charter.
She holds a Bachelor of Law Degree (LL.B) Honors from Makerere University.
She is a candidate for a Master of Law Degree (LL.M) from the University of London.
She has received various national, regional and inter-national awards in recognition of her distinguished services as a legal practitioner, judge and human rights activist.
The two African justices join four others from Japan, Canada, Peru and Italy to fill six slots available.
Published on Africa News on December 7, 2017