Appeals Chamber Slightly Amends Reparations Order in Al Mahdi Case

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said the identity of individual victims applying for reparations in the case of Malian Islamic leader Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi does not need to be disclosed to the convicted war criminal.

In a judgement issued on Thursday, the Appeals Chamber said the identity of those victims seeking reparations needs to be disclosed to the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), which has been delegated responsibility of implementing the reparations order Trial Chamber VIII issued in August last year.

“The Appeals Chamber notes that Mr Al Mahdi’s interests at this stage of the proceedings are limited. The Trial Chamber has already set Mr Al Mahdi’s monetary liability and, as argued by the LRV [Legal Representative for Victims], the results of the screening process will have no impact on this,” said Presiding Judge Howard Morrison, who read a summary of the judgement on behalf of his fellow appeals judges.

“The Appeals Chamber finds that the Trial Chamber erred in ordering that access to applicants’ identifying information should be granted to Mr Al Mahdi, as a condition for the applicants to have their applications for reparations reviewed by the TFV. This finding is reversed and the Impugned Decision amended to the extent that the TFV is authorised to also consider applications for individual reparations made by applicants who do not wish to have their identifying information disclosed to Mr Al Mahdi,” said Judge Morrison.

The Appeals Chamber also said in its Thursday judgement that the fund is responsible for screening victims who are eligible for receiving reparations, but the final decision on the matter rests with the trial chamber. Victims who are dissatisfied with the fund’s screening decision can apply to the trial chamber for reconsideration.

The judgement was a unanimous decision of all five judges of the Appeals Chamber, who also said that the rest of the reparations order of Trial Chamber VII remained as it had been rendered on August 17, 2017.

This judgement follows a partial appeal of that reparations order that Mayombo Kassongo, the lawyer representing victims, made on October 17, 2017. The Appeals Chamber also received submissions from the TFV and al Mahdi’s defense.

In August last year, Trial Chamber VIII ordered al Mahdi pay €2.7 million in collective and individual reparations for the single war crime he was convicted of. He was convicted of the destruction or partial destruction of nine historic buildings and the door of a mosque in northern Mali almost six years ago.

When the reparation order was given in August last year, the trial chamber had given the Trust Fund for Victims up to February 16 of this year to submit a draft implementation plan. The fund applied for and was granted more time to file that draft. The new deadline is April 6.

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