ICC Trust Fund for Victims – Press release – TVF to advance reparations ordered in Katanga case.

The ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims (TVF) is mandated to address the situation of victims suffering harm as a result of crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the court. There are two branches to this mandate: in countries where crimes within the court’s jurisdiction are being prosecuted, the TVF can and does provide assistance in various forms to victims and their communities; in relation to individual convictions, the TVF has a discretionary authority (under Article 56 of its regulations) to advance the reparations awarded against a convicted person, for the immediate benefit of his/her victims. After almost a decade of focussing on assistance projects (awaiting the conclusion of the court’s first criminal trials), the Trust Fund’s reparations mandate is now beginning to take shape and play a larger role in the Trust Fund’s work.

On 23 May 2014, Germaine Katanga was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment as an accessory to the commission of crimes including murder, attack against a civilian population, destruction of enemy property and pillaging – within the context of an armed attack on 24 February 2003 on Bogoro, Ituri district, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On 24 March 2017, Trial Chamber II issued an order for reparations against Mr Katanga for the amount of $1,000,000 – for the benefit of 297 victims (see under cases in this section). This comprised individual reparations of $250 per victim (totalling $74,250) as symbolic compensation, and four collective awards (combined totalling $925,750) in the form of housing assistance, education assistance, income-generating activities, and psychological rehabilitation. In addition to the sentence imposed, an order for reparations reflects the obligation of the person responsible for serious crimes to repair the harm they have caused to the victims, and is a critical element of the reparative justice afforded to victims under the Rome Statute.

At the time of the reparations award, Mr Katanga was considered to be indigent for the purposes of reparations. In making the order for reparations, the Court recalled that Mr Katanga remains, nevertheless, liable for the reparations ordered against him. ICC Regulation 117 provides that ‘[t]he Presidency shall, if necessary, and with the assistance of the Registrar as appropriate, monitor the financial situation of the sentenced person on an ongoing basis, even following completion of a sentence of imprisonment, in order to enforce fines, forfeiture orders or reparation orders’. However, in the short term, in order not to prolong the suffering of the victims, the Trial Chamber requested that the TVF Board consider using its discretionary authority under regulation 56 of the TFV Regulations to enable the timely payment of the individual and collective awards for reparations. The TVF has released this press release about the decision.

The Trial Chamber’s Request is the first time that the TFV Board has been seized of a request to consider using its regulation 56 complement authority with respect to the payment of individual awards ordered pursuant to rule 98 (2) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.