The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] announced Tuesday that it would begin implementation of a plan to provide reparations [press release] to the victims of convicted war criminal Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [case materials]. Funds will be collected for the court by Trust Fund for Victims [advocacy website] based on reparation claims by victims, and the court will then have to approve a payment before a victim can be compensated. Reparations will be paid to both direct and indirect victims of Lubanga's crimes, including child soldiers. In its press release the court noted that this was the first time the ICC had outlined the principles of collecting and distributing funds to victims. Lubanga himself has been declared indigent.
Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years in prison last month after he was convicted [JURIST reports] of the war crimes of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities. The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo [ICC information sheet] is a landmark case for the ICC because Lubanga was the first prisoner taken into custody [JURIST report] and delivered to the international criminal tribunal in The Hague. The prosecution concluded its case [JURIST report] in July 2009 after presenting 22 weeks of testimony. Lubanga's trial began in January 2009 after being delayed for evidentiary reasons and was then halted soon afterward when one of the child witnesses recanted his testimony [JURIST reports] that Lubanga had recruited him for the militia. He was charged with recruiting child soldiers [JURIST report] in 2006. Lubanga become the first DRC war crimes defendant to appear before the ICC after he was taken into ICC custody [JURIST report] in March 2006.