On July 21-22 2015, the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the ICC convened in an extraordinary meeting in The Hague to review and discuss progress made in the development of a draft implementation plan for reparations, in the case against Mr Thomas Lubanga, to the benefit of former child soldiers in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Acknowledging the preliminary results of the TFV Secretariat’s consultations with local communities and potentially eligible victims, as well as of an international expert meeting, the TFV Board endorsed the approach undertaken and reiterated the strong interest that it has in ensuring that the draft reparations implementation plan is responsive to the rights and expectations of eligible victims of Mr Lubanga’s crimes - and as such, provides a solid foundation for collective reparations awards to be a meaningful redress of the harm that victims have suffered.
In December 2014, the ICC’s Appeals Chamber confirmed Mr Lubanga’s conviction and sentencing for the crimes of conscription and use of child soldiers under the age of 15, in eastern DRC during 2002-2003. In March, the Appeals Chamber issued a judgement and amended order for reparations against Mr Lubanga, which included the instruction to the TFV to submit a draft implementation plan for reparations to eligible direct and indirect victims by September 2015.
This is the first time that the TFV has been tasked by the ICC to develop a reparations plan, triggering its unprecedented mandate enshrined in the Rome Statute to implement reparations to victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
The TFV is taking up this challenging and unprecedented task in close cooperation with the ICC Registry, most notably its sections for victims participation and reparations (VPRS) and for public information (PIDS). From May through to the end of June, the TFV conducted consecutive field missions to the Ituri district in eastern DRC to engage with local communities and to have meetings with groups of potentially eligible victims, both male and female. During the same period, the VPRS conducted a preliminary victim mapping exercise.
A multi-disciplinary expert consultation meeting on reparations was held in Belfast at the Ulster University’s Transitional Justice Institute (26-29 May) and convened over 25 practitioners and experts from a variety of backgrounds and geographies, as well as selected staff from the TFV Secretariat and ICC Registry and representatives of the legal counsel for victims in the Lubanga case. The expert meeting considered, amongst others, methods for victim identification for the purpose of collective reparations, applicable standards of proof and causality, as well as methods to assess harm for the purpose of collective reparations.
Recognising the great progress made and challenges overcome since March, the Board also took note of various steps, both from a legal and practical perpsective, that need to be taken before finalising the draft implementation plan. The Board reiterated the significance of preparing the plan in such a manner as to also guide the procedures and content of plans in future reparations cases, while reflecting sufficiently the special character of the case at hand.
Noting the report of the Court’s Office of the Internal Auditor (OIA) on the TFV’s internal control framework of the assistance mandate programmes, the Board was heartened by its overall audit opinion that “the TFV has managed well its assistance programs in successfully reaching victims and the affected communities in norther Uganda and DRC through assistance programs” and that, while areas of improvement can be identified, it is “worth noting that the TFV has made some significant achievements since its inception in 2008.” The OIA and TFV intend to make available a redacted version of the audit report to the States Parties in the Fall of 2015.
At this meeting the TFV Board was not able, as intended, to deliberate and decide on the functioning and desired structure of the TFV Secretariat, since the delivery of the draft ReVision report came too late to be considered. The TFV Board and the Registrar did agree to develop soonest a written arrangement to clarify the administrative relationship between the Registry and the TFV, including the scope of administrative delegation of authority to the TFV Secretariat.
Recalling the need to strengthen the TFV’s ability to complement payments for reparations in current and future cases before the ICC, as well as the need to sustain and expand the TFV’s activities under its assistance mandate, the TFV Board expresses its appreciation to its donors for the significant voluntary contributions and donations they have made to the TFV. The Board is calling upon all interested States and private donors to assist in further growing the financial capacity of the TFV to assist victims of the most serious crimes to overcome the harm they have suffered and rebuild their lives.
July 2, 2015, Lira, northern Uganda - Since 2008 the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) has been delivering assistance and rehabilitation to victims under the assistance mandate across 18 districts in Northern Uganda, providing services to victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes through a network of local and international non-governmental organizations. The assistance mandate of the TFV is distinct from reparations before the International Criminal Court or the payment of compensation to victims. The TFV assistance programme provides a broad range of medical and psychological rehabilitation services for injured and traumatized victims.
The Trust Fund launched its new projects with the Ministry of Health, local government officials at all levels across the districts of northern Uganda, civil society colleagues, local leaders, women grassroots organizations, and donors who were all invited to celebrate this occasion.
Read further here.
The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is diversifying its revenue base, with particular attention to attracting the support of private institutional donors. This will be supported by a Fundraising & Visibility Officer, which is a newly created position at the TFV Secretariat in The Hague.
The TFV depends on voluntary contributions and donations to finance its activities in support of victims of crimes under the Rome Statute.
We are looking for a dynamic and resourceful fundraiser, having a strong affinity with the TFV’s strategy and mandates in relation to reparative justice to victims, as well as with transitional justice and humanitarian aid in general.
Further information about the position, its requirements and the recruitment procedure can be found here.
Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims
12th Annual Meeting
17, 18 and 19 March 2015
List of Decisions (DRAFT for Board approval)
The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is firmly dedicated to ensure that the right of victims to reparations under the Rome Statute becomes a meaningful reality. More than eleven years have elapsed since the sufferings of victims in the Lubanga case. The time has come to deliver on their rightful expectations.
At its 12th Annual Meeting held from 17-19 March 2015 in The Hague, the Board of Directors of the TFV had the timely opportunity to consider the very first final reparations order issued by the ICC Appeals Chamber on 3 March 2015 in the case against Mr Thomas Lubanga, who has been convicted for the conscription, enlistment and use of child soldiers under the age of 15 in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
To assure an appropriate response to the harm suffered by victims in this case, the TFV reaffirms its commitment to consult with victims, their communities and other stakeholders in the course of drafting an implementation plan for reparations, which is due on 3 September 2015.
From right to left: Motoo Noguchi (Chair, TFV Board), Elisabeth Rehn (TFV Board),
Vaira Vike-Freiberga (TFV Board), Sayeman Bula-Bula (TFV Board), Judge
Sylvia Fernandez de Gurmendi (ICC President), Denys Toscano SAmores (TFV Board),
Shamila Batohi (OTP)
Effectively delivering reparative justice to victims depends on close collaboration between the TFV and the ICC. This requirement strongly featured in the engagements between the TFV Board of Directors and the ICC President, Judge Sylvia Fernandez, as well as the ICC Registrar, Mr Herman von Hebel.
The TFV Board confirms its intent to advance its resources from its reparations reserve for the purpose of collective reparations awards, in consideration of Mr Lubanga’s current financial status as well as the absence of any other resources available for this purpose. The TFV Board also confirms that it is prepared to respond to the Appeals Chamber’s suggestion to consider the use of the TFV’s assistance mandate to address the harm suffered by those falling outside of the scope of the reparations order, including victim survivors of sexual and gender based violence and other affected groups and communities. The TFV Board will hold a special meeting in late July to review the development of the draft implementation plan.
The Board decided to raise its reparations reserve with additional € 1.2 million to a total of € 4.8 million to boost the TFV’s future ability to complement collective reparations awards. The Board furthermore decided to obligate another € 2.9 million to its assistance programmes in northern Uganda and DRC, as well as significant resources to sustain the expansion of the TFV’s activities under the assistance mandate and to improve systems supporting programme development and implementation.
The TFV Board of Directors strongly appeals to States Parties, as well as to private donors, to make voluntary contributions to sustain and further develop its ability to implement its reparations and assistance mandates under the Rome Statute. Next to unrestricted contributions, the TFV welcomes contributions earmarked to SGBV victim survivors, to the TFV’s reparations reserve and to the psychological rehabilitation of victims.
The Trust Fund for Victims welcomes the delivery of the landmark judgment of 3 March 2-15 by the Appeals Chamber on reparations in the Lubanga case.
Motoo Noguchi, Chair of the TFV Board of Directors, stated, "This is a very important judgment which has set out the principles on reparations and the final reparations order for the first time in the ICC's history. The principle is particularly encouraging for victims in stating that the reparation scheme in the Statute is a key feature and that the success of the Court is, to some extent, linked to the success of its system of reparations. The judgment will trigger the implementation of reparations order that has been long-awaited by victims of the case. The Board and the Secretariat will take all necessary action, in close collaboration with victims and all relevant stakeholders, for the successful implementation of the order. On this opportunity the Board also like to express its sincere appreciation for the work of outgoing judges of the Appeals Chamber and wishes them all the best."
The Board of Directors will hold its annual Board meeting from 17-19 March 2015 in The Hague, in which it will discuss as one of the most important agenda items the implementation of this reparations order. The Board meeting will be preceded by a seminar of 16 March on the psychological rehabilitation of victims, co-hosted by the Embassy of Latvia and the TFV, at which Board member Dr. Vaira Vīķe -Freiberga will deliver the keynote speech.
From December 8th to 17th, the 13th annual session of the Assembly of States Parties took place in New York to discuss and consider amendment proposals regarding issues central to the Court’s operations. During the Assembly’s General Debate, States Parties delivered statements to fellow States Parties, civil society representatives and regional and international organizations, expressing their support, concerns and recommendations for the coming year. Many of these statements expressed continued support for the TFV and emphasized the need for continued assistance to victims of the gravest crimes.
Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa of Japan highly welcomed the work of the Trust Fund for Victims, led by the Chair of the Board of Directors, Mr Motoo Noguchi of Japan. Highlighting Japan's voluntary contribution of approximately €600,000 to the Trust Fund for Victims in 2014, Mr Yoshikawa indicated that Japan will continue its support for the victims of armed conflict, including the victims of sexual violence.
On behalf of Australia, Dr. Greg French delivered a statement which noted Australia’s donation of $200,000 to the TFV this past year and affirmed the importance of supporting victims’ and witnesses’ participation in Court proceedings. Statements delivered by Bangladesh’s representative Mr. Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Ireland’s representative Mr. James Kingston and Hon. Vasili Basiru Potier Mahoney of the Gambia, also expressed appreciation and support for the TFV, encouraging donors to enhance the flow of resources to the TFV in coming years. Belgium and the Republic of Korea, too, stated their commitment to support the TFV in fulfilling its mandate to assist victims and promised to continue their voluntary funding in 2015.
In addition, the Netherlands and Equador called upon States Parties to improve their cooperation with the TFV in order to advance the development of international criminal justice. Ms. Satu Suikkari-Klevin expressed Finland’s strong support for the reparations and assistance mandates of the TFV, commending the TFV’s work in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Numerous other states including the Gambia, Latvia, Slovenia, Ivory Coast, Luxembourg, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, also declared their continued appreciation and support for the work of the TFV.
Please find each States Parties’ full statement available below.
On the 8th of December 2014, Mr. Motoo Noguchi addressed the Thirteenth Session of the Assembly of States Parties, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). Mrs. Elisabeth Rehn and Denys Toscano Amores were also present on this occasion.
Mr. Noguchi began by expressing a warm welcome and congratulations to the newly elected President of the Assembly of States Parties, His Excellency Mr Sidiki Kaba, and thanking the out-going President, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, for her unwavering support of the TFV throughout her tenure.
Mr. Noguchi presented the newly approved Strategic Plan 2014-2017 to the States Parties, and encouraged States Parties to voluntarily contribute donations to the TFV, reiterating that "to become a TFV’s donor demonstrates the moral and political support to the reparative justice aspect of the Rome Statute system, irrespective of the size of contribution".
The two most pressing developments envisaged for the TFV are "the implementation of the first reparations orders in the history of the ICC, and the expansion of the TFV’s assistance programmes to more situation countries".
Whilst Mr. Noguchi reiterated that "the concrete role and responsibility of the TFV in the formation and implantation of reparations orders are yet to be decided", the next few months promise to mark an ambitious juncture for the TFV with regards to our reparations mandate. Full speech available here
The Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) is pleased to announce that the voluntary contributions by States Parties to the TFV in 2014, has once again reached an unprecedented level. In total, the TFV received over €5 million euros in voluntary contributions, compared to €4.5 million in 2013. In addition, the TFV notes an emerging interest of private donors to engage with the Fund.
According to Motoo Noguchi, Chair of the Board of Directors, the growing support "shows an irreversible trend of supporting the key mandates of the Trust Fund for Victims in addressing the plight and rights of victims, their families and communities, within the framework of the Rome Statute system". Mr Noguchi expressed the Board's strong appreciation of States Parties continuing to support the TFV on an annual basis, including through multi-annual arrangements such as with Sweden and Finland, and welcomed new contributors, such as Japan.
In 2014, the TFV received two donations of over one million euros. The United Kingdom made contributions of in total over €1.5 million, earmarked to the support to victim survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), which includes a £ 1 million (€1.1m) contribution announced by Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, June 2014 in London. Sweden contributed over €1.3 million of unrestricted resources, which is the second instalment of a three year funding arrangement.
Finland made a contribution of €300,000 of unrestricted resources, in addition to a third instalment of € 200,000 under the 2012-2015 multi-year arrangement, earmarked for SGBV victim survivors. Furthermore, Japan emerged as a strong new donor in 2014, contributing around €600,000 of both unrestricted and SGBV earmarked resources.
Private individuals, including staff at the International Criminal Court, have continued to support the TFV. A significant donation of €75,000 was made by the contractors involved in the construction of the new permanent premises of the ICC in The Hague and the TFV wishes to express its appreciation to the Project Director for his efforts in this regard.
A promising initiative has emerged in Finland, where government officials have reached out to their professional networks, resulting in the establishment of a private association, chaired by Ms Elisabeth Rehn, which is to raise interest in and financial support to the TFV. The initiative was announced during the TFV's successful side event during the 13th Assembly of States Parties in New York and is already attracting the interest of other States Parties.
In accordance with its Strategic Plan 2014-2017, the TFV intends to intensify its private fundraising efforts in 2015 in synergy with Stats Parties’ donor support.