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ICC Endorses Further Support to LRA Victims

On Monday, a panel of three judges of the International Criminal Court approved the implementation of the six projects saying their execution will have no bearing on the ongoing trial of former LRA Commander Dominic Ongwen. It is unclear how much the projects will cost the Trust Funds for Victims to implement.
Dominic Ongwen During The Juba Peace Talks
The Trust Funds for Victims has been cleared to implement six additional assistance projects in support of victims of the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA in Northern Uganda.

The six projects will deliver additional supports for physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims and their families who are still suffering from the untreated wounds of the conflict in underserved districts of Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions.

On Monday, a panel of three judges of the International Criminal Court approved the implementation of the six projects saying their execution will have no bearing on the on-going trial of former LRA Commander Dominic Ongwen. It is unclear how much the projects will cost the Trust Funds for Victims to implement. 

The Panel chaired by Antonie Kesia-Mbe Mindua observed that implementation of activities set out under the projects can commence immediately. The other judges in the panel are Tomoko Akane and Rosario Salvatore Aitala.

Pieter W.I. de Baan, the Executive Director of the Trust Funds for Victims had notified the court to approve implementation of the projects following the conclusion of nine projects of the Trust Funds for Victims in the region last year.

The approval is in line with Regulation 50(a) of the Regulations of the Trust Fund for Victims which requires the Funds to notify the court of its activities to prevent emerging prejudicial matters on situations before the International Court. 

The notification by the Directors of the Trust Funds for victims indicates that the conclusion of the nine projects have created a service vacuum for the affected victims and their families as they still require further assistance to cope with the negative impacts of the two-decade conflict. 

According to the notification, the specific selected activities will focus on injuries stemming from crimes committed in the situation of Uganda in general and are not related in any way to national or international proceedings or investigations.

The Trust funds for Victims supported Gulu Hospital to undertake physical rehabilitation of victims of the Lord's Resistance Army by rehabilitating and equipping the hospital's Orthopaedic Workshop. It also replaced the heavy ICRC artificial leg by introducing the lighter SWISS leg for amputated victims of the conflicts to engage in demanding economic activities.

Under the nine Projects, some mutilated victims benefitted from corrective surgeries while those who had bullet fragments lodged inside their bodies had them removed. The Trust Funds for Victims estimated that there are still millions of people requiring immediate assistance in post-conflict Northern Uganda.

The Trust Funds for Victims was created under the International Criminal Court (ICC) founding treaty, the Rome Statute, to undertake victims' assistance programs or court-ordered reparations to victims of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and sexual and gender-based crimes. 

The International Criminal Court is trying Dominic Ongwen, the first of the five indicted commander of the Lord's Resistance Army for 70 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual and gender-based crimes he is alleged to have committed while serving in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).  He denied all the charges.

Ongwen is alleged to have committed the crimes in four internally displaced persons camps in Pajule, Odek, Abok and Lukodi between January 2002 and December 2005.