March 3, 2015, Arusha (FH) – The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court on Tuesday amended the ICC's first order on victim reparations, which came after the conviction of former Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga. The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) now has six months to submit a draft plan for implementing reparations in the Lubanga case.

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Lubanga was in 2012 found guilty of war crimes for using child soldiers in Ituri, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and was sentenced to 14 years in jail. He was the first person convicted by the ICC, so this order will also set the procedures for reparations in other cases. The ICC is the first international criminal court to specifically provide for victim representation and reparations. On 7 August 2012, the lower court set victim reparation principles for the first time and ordered collective reparations to victims to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). The Appeals Court confirmed that reparations in the Lubanga case should be collective, not individual, an important factor being the number of victims.  The TFV plan must include the monetary amount it deems necessary to remedy harm caused by the crimes for which Lubanga was convicted. However the Appeals Chamber threw out the trial court finding that Lubanga was not personally liable for the reparations because he is currently deemed indigent. It said reparation orders must inform the convicted person of his personal liability, and that if the TFV advances resources, it could still claim them back later. Reparations are to include measures to reintegrate former child soldiers and should be guided by a gender-inclusive approach.  The Appeals Chamber upheld the finding that the victims of the crimes, whether or not they participated in the trial or filed requests for reparations, should be able to participate in the reparation awards. It included an amendment instructing the TFV to consult with victims who participated at trial and submitted individual requests on issues relating to the design and nature of collective reparations awards.  JC/FS