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Lubanga’s Financial Liability for Reparations Set at US$ 10 Million

Today, International Criminal Court (ICC) judges issued a decision setting the amount of Thomas Lubanga’s financial liability for reparations to victims of his crimes at US$ 10 million.

This liability is the highest judges at the court have placed on an individual – 10 times that of former Congolese rebel leader Germain Katanga’s, which was set at US$ 1 million. Malian national Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, who was convicted for attacking religious and historical monuments, was issued a reparations liability of €2.7 million (US$ 3.18 million).

In a ruling delivered this morning, judges Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (Presiding), Olga Herrera Carbuccia, and Péter Kovács noted that the scope of a convicted person’s liability is proportionate to the harm caused and, among other things, their participation in the commission of the crimes for which they were found guilty.

The judges assessed the harm suffered by 427 persons recognized as victims of Lubanga at USD US$ 3.4 million. Separately, taking into account the proportion to the harm caused and Lubanga’s participation in the commission of the crimes, judges assessed his liability at US$ 6.6 million. That brought the total amount of Lubanga’s liability for collective reparations to US$ 10 million.

Lubanga, who headed a rebel group known as the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), was convicted in March 2012 of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years and using them in armed conflict in Congo’s Ituri district during 2002 and 2003. He was handed a 14-year prison term.

In determining his liability for reparations, judges noted that further evidence indicated the existence of “hundreds or even thousands” more victims affected by Lubanga’s crimes, some of whom were no longer willing or able to take part in the reparations process for safety reasons.

The ICC has previously found Lubanga to be indigent and has sought to find other sources of funding to contribute to the reparations. In particular, it has asked the Trust Fund for Victims to examine the possibility of earmarking more money for the implementation of collective reparations. The Fund earlier this year rolled out a US$ 1.06 million reparations program to be implemented over three years.

Judges have also asked the Trust Fund to contact the government of Congo to explore possibilities for its contribution to the reparations process.