ICC confirms $30m reparations in DR Congo warlord case

It took four years for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to reach a final decision on reparations following the conviction in 2019 of former Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda. Sentenced to 30 years in prison, he received the heaviest sentence ever handed down by the ICC. On Friday 14 July, the Court ordered him to pay €27.8 million euros to 10,500 victims. Ntaganda is considered indigent and the burden of reparations will now fall on the Trust Fund for Victims.

Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC)
Bosco Ntaganda, a former Rwandan soldier who became a general in the Congolese army, during the delivery of the final decision on reparations at the International Criminal Court on Friday 14 July. © ICC-CPI
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday confirmed a more than $30 million reparations package for thousands of victims of DR Congo warlord Bosco Ntaganda, including former child soldiers.

Named the "Terminator" for his reign of terror in the vast African country in the early 2000s, Ntaganda was jailed for 30 years in 2019 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Judges afterwards awarded $30.3 million (27 million euros) in reparations, but last year ordered a review saying the number of victims were unclear.

But on Friday "the Chamber unanimously assesses Mr Ntaganda's liability for reparations at USD $31,300,000," the Hague-based court said in a statement.

Although Ntaganda is liable for the payment, the ICC found that he did not have the funds, which would now be paid from the Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC.

Judges asked court officials to "continue exploring whether Mr Ntaganda possessed any undiscovered assets" and monitor his finances "on an ongoing basis."

Judges added that based on available information, there were an estimated 7,500 direct and indirect victims of violent attacks, as well as 3,000 direct or indirect victims of crimes against child soldiers.

No financial amounts were given for specific victims, but payment would include around $11 million in socio-economic support and around five million dollars ($5 million) for mental care resulting from "psychological harm" suffered during the attacks.

Rehabilitation of former child soldiers was estimated at around $4,000 per person.

The ICC in 2021 upheld a 30-year sentence on appeal for war crimes against Ntaganda.

"The Chamber reiterates that Mr Ntaganda's conviction is final and his liability to repair the harm caused to the victims of his crimes is under no discussion," the judges stressed in Friday's order.

"The Chamber will continue striving to advance these reparation proceedings in the most efficient and effective manner possible... ensuring that the victims of his crimes receive the reparations they are entitled to, and for which they have waited for more than two decades, without further delay," they said.

The Rwandan-born Ntaganda, 49, was convicted of 18 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, sexual slavery, rape and using child soldiers.

Ntaganda was the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery by the court.

Many of the other charges related to massacres of villagers in the mineral rich Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.