International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Reparations Plan for Lubanga Victims Takes Shape

The plan for making reparations to victims of Thomas Lubanga’s use of hundreds of child soldiers in armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo a decade and a half ago is nearing completion. The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) will spend €1 million (US $1.1 million) over three years to support affected communities and individuals in eastern Congo.

However, the plan, which has taken four years to draw up, is not without challenges. The funds allocated for reparations are limited, and victims will not receive individual reparations, which many had expected. Moreover, continuing insecurity and the influence of Lubanga’s party in Ituri district could deter victims from participating in the reparations program.

These challenges were the focus of discussions when the … Continue Reading

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Quelques Considerations Critiques sur les Reparations au Profit des Victimes dans l’Affaire contre Thomas Lubanga a la CPI

Cet article est écrit par le professeur Serge Makaya, Docteur en droit, Université Aix-Marseille, Professeur des universités (Université de Kinshasa, Université Protestante au Congo, Université Catholique du Congo), Avocat, Président du centre national de recherche sur la justice transitionnelle, plusieurs fois conseiller juridique au ministère  de la justice et droits humains. Les vues exprimées dans ce commentaire ne représentent pas nécessairement celles d’Open Society Justice Initiative.

Le 7 août 2012, la Chambre de première instance I de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) s’est prononcée sur les réparations dues aux victimes dans l’affaire le Procureur contre Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.

Cette Chambre, ayant constaté préalablement l’insolvabilité du condamné, a ordonné au Fonds au profit des victimes de recueillir, auprès des victimes les propositions en matière … Continue Reading

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Critical Considerations Regarding Reparations in the Thomas Lubanga Case at the ICC

This article is written by Professor Serge Makaya, a professor of law at the University of Kinshasa, Protestant University of Congo, and Catholic University of Congo. Professor Makaya is a lawyer, president of the National Research Center on Transitional Justice, and has served as a legal adviser to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. He received his law degeree from Université Aix-Marseille.  The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On August 7, 2012, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision on the reparations due to victims in the case of the prosecutor against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo.

This chamber, having previously noted the insolvency of the convicted … Continue Reading

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Waiting, Waiting, and More Waiting for Reparations in the Lubanga Case

Gaelle Carayon is the Post Conflict Policy Advisor at REDRESS. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.  

On February 9, 2016,  Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is overseeing the reparation phase in the case of Thomas Lubanga, decided that a draft reparation plan submitted to it by the Trust Fund for Victims (Trust Fund or Fund) in November 2015 was incomplete and cannot be implemented.  The trial chamber requested the Trust Fund to submit the missing information at regular intervals with the final submission due on December 31, 2016. The Trust Fund is now seeking to appeal this order.

This new delay is a severe … Continue Reading

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Les juges refusent de réduire la peine de M. Lubanga prononcée par la CPI

Les juges de la chambre d’appel de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) ont rejeté une demande de réduction de la peine de Thomas Lubanga, le chef de milice congolais condamné, en 2013, à une peine de prison de 14 ans. Le mois dernier, la Cour a tenu une audience pour réexaminer sa peine, y compris la possibilité d’une libération anticipée.

Aujourd’hui, les juges Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (juge présidente), Howard Morrison et Piotr Hofmański ont unanimement décidé qu’il n’y avait pas lieu de réduire la peine de M. Lubanga pour le moment. Le prochain réexamen de la question de la réduction de peine aura lieu dans deux ans.

Bien que les juges aient conclu qu’il existait des perspectives de resocialisation et de réinsertion réussie … Continue Reading

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Judges Decline to Reduce Lubanga’s ICC Term

Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have declined a request to reduce the sentence of Thomas Lubanga, the Congolese militia leader sentenced to a 14-year prison term in 2013. Last month, the court conducted a hearing to review his sentence, including a possible early release.

Judges Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (presiding), Howard Morrison, and Piotr Hofmański today unanimously decided that it is not appropriate to reduce Lubanga’s sentence at the moment. The next review of Lubanga’s sentence will be in two years.

Although the judges found that there was a prospect for Lubanga’s resocialization and successful resettlement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), they nevertheless concluded that a reduction of his sentence could not be justified in the absence … Continue Reading


Reconsidering Lubanga’s Sentence: Views from Ituri

The following commentary was written by Olivia Bueno of the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), in consultation with Congolese activists. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of IRRI or of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On August 21, 2015, the International Criminal Court (ICC) heard arguments about whether or not to release Thomas Lubanga, the first person to be convicted by the court. As required under Article 110 of the Rome Statute, the ICC will review Lubanga’s sentence now that two-thirds of it has been served. The prospect of Lubanga’s release has been met with reactions ranging from despair and frustration to satisfaction, depending on who you ask.

As this is the first hearing … Continue Reading

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Lubanga Pleads With ICC Judges for Early Release

Convicted Congolese political leader Thomas Lubanga has pleaded with International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to grant him early release, promising to promote reconciliation and announcing plans to do doctoral studies into the psycho-sociological determinants of conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Mr. Lubanga made the appeal before a panel of judges that will determine whether his 14-year prison sentence can be reduced. He states that throughout the 12 years he has been in detention, first in the DRC and then at the ICC, his thoughts have been with the people of the Ituri district, with whom he said he endured a painful history, beginning with a massacre in 1999.

“I offer my sincere apologies for all victims for the … Continue Reading

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Judge Fernández to Stay on Lubanga ICC Sentence Review Panel

The Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has dismissed a defense application for the disqualification of Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi from presiding over the upcoming review of Thomas Lubanga’s the prison sentence. The majority of a 15-judge plenary found that the functions Judge Fernández earlier performed in the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) were “irrelevant” to the proceedings to determine whether Mr. Lubanga’s 14-year jail sentence should be reduced.

In an August 3, 2015 decision, the judges determined that the functions performed by Judge Fernández when she was employed by the OTP appeared to have been strategic, high-level, and “relatively removed” from the details of the case against Mr. Lubanga. “There might be circumstances where Judge Fernández’s prior functions … Continue Reading

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Will ICC Judges Grant Lubanga Early Release?

On August 21, 2015, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hear arguments about whether to grant Thomas Lubanga early release from imprisonment. In March 2012, Trial Chamber judges found Lubanga guilty of the enlistment, conscription, and use of children under the age of 15 for combat purposes during the conflict in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He was sentenced to a total of 14 years of imprisonment. Both his conviction and sentence were upheld on appeal in December 2014.

A three-judge panel of the Appeals Chamber will decide whether Lubanga must serve his full sentence or if he can return to DRC after completing two-thirds of his sentence. Lubanga, the former leader of the Union … Continue Reading

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