Today AllAfrica.com published a commentary written by Olivia Bueno at the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) regarding a great deal of controversy surrounding the reparations relating to the trial of Thomas Lubanga, who received a 14-year sentence from the ICC for war crimes of enlisting, conscripting, and using child soldiers in the DRC.
It’s a fascinating piece, and certainly worth the read. I’ve also pulled out a few passages that I found particularly thought-provoking in terms of framing our discussion about restorative justice from Tuesday’s class. Particularly, I was struck by how I have been thinking about the effectiveness of the ICC based on those criminals it is able to apprehend and convict, but justice does not end with a verdict, especially not for the victims.
Click here to read the full article.
“In its decision, the trial chamber in the Lubanga case stated that victims should be awarded reparations and laid out principles for their application. However, the chamber did not make a decision regarding exactly what form these reparations should take. They decided that a proposal based on consultation with victims should be put together for approval by the Court. This left victims and the general public in Ituri with many questions, particularly about the form that reparations may take.”
“The Court has created enormous expectations on the part of many victims in Ituri and these expectations will be very difficult to meet.”
“They are talking about collective reparations. If you want to come and build a monument, that is fine, but don’t call it reparations.”
“These victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are terrorized at home; constrained to remain silent by the notion that they should not undermine the honor of their community by denouncing violations committed against them by “their own.” Even if the Court has not been able to afford them the opportunity to express themselves openly, humanity should not ignore their suffering. That, she says, would be real injustice.”
“In fact, there is concern that a reparations program might even contribute to exacerbating tensions between some groups. “The Court says that reparations should not be discriminatory, but in practice the victims are more or less only Hema or Alur. What does this mean for victims who are Lendu or member of other groups?”
“They suggest a mode of reparations that address collective needs or which could be collectively used (such as a hospital serving a victim community) might be employed, rather than collective reparations that are merely symbolic (such as apologies or the construction of monuments or memorials).”