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The Embassy of Ireland and the Trust Fund for Victims conclude a joint monitoring visit to northern Uganda

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Panelists are seen addressing the media during the Presser at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

From 13 – 17:September 2022, the Embassy of Ireland to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (ICC), with the assistance of the Embassy of Ireland to Uganda, led a joint monitoring visit to northern Uganda.

 

 

Panelists are seen addressing the media during the Presser at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

The objective of the monitoring visit was to provide delegates with the opportunity to witness firsthand the transformative work of the TFV in northern Uganda, focusing on the lasting impact of the onflict and the individuals and communities affected by the many atrocities committed.

The Acting Executive Director Par Interim (L) with  Scott Bartell Program Manager-Trust Fund For Victims in Uganda address the media during the Presser at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates. The Acting Executive Director Par Interim  addresses the media during the Presser at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

The Acting Executive Director Par Interim  addresses the media during the Presser at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.The Acting Executive Director Par Interim (L) with  Scott Bartell, Program Manager-Trust Fund For Victims in Uganda address the media during the Presser at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Delegates on the visit hoped to gain insight into reparation implementation programmes and hear directly victims’ experiences of court-ordered reparation programme in the Lubanga and the Katanga case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Scott Bartell Program Manager-Trust Fund For Victims in Uganda  (L) with  Uganda’s Ambassador to Netherlands Mirjam Blaak Sow shortly before  the media briefing at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Scott Bartell Program Manager-Trust Fund For Victims in Uganda  (R) with Outreach Officer Maria Kamara chat  before  the media briefing at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

Scott Bartell Program Manager-Trust Fund For Victims in Uganda  (L)  receives Uganda’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon.Nobert Mao for the media briefing at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022.Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.
Honourable Norbert Mao, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Uganda said, “Although the guns have gone silent, the wounds are still deep”. He added, “We highly appreciate this important monitoring visit with so many delegates and we are certain that they will bring back great impressions of Uganda after their personal interactions with the victims of the LRA. It has become apparent that mental health is very important to be addressed. We have to ensure that psychosomatic services among others are continued as some victims will require this assistance to lead a normal life.

Uganda’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon.Nobert Mao (R)  chats with Scott Bartell, Program Manager-Trust Fund For Victims in Uganda  (Middle)  and Kevin Kelly,board Member of the Trust Fund for Victims(L) shortly before the media briefing at Sheraton Hotel,Kampala 17th Sept,2022. Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/KMA Updates.

The work of the Trust Fund for Victims is of utmost important to the thousands of victims in northern Uganda and we hope that the assistance will be prolonged. Without the assistance of the Government of Ireland, this visit would have not been possible, and we shall welcome you again, any time. “
The Chair of the TFV Board of Directors, Minou Tavarez Mirabal, said, “Medical treatment, trauma counselling and livelihood support are life changing services that afford recognition and a form of justice to victims of Rome Statute crimes and redress for the harm they have suffered. The TFV calls for collective efforts to restoring hope, transforming lives and achieving long-term reparative justice for victims”, she added.
Speaking on Ireland’s hopes for the visit and support of the TFV’s work, H.E. Ambassador Brendan Rogers of Ireland to the Netherlands said: “This visit is the bridge between The Hague and the field.
Delegates are now better informed and have seen with their own eyes the impact of the work of the TFV on the ground. We now have a family of supporters of the Fund that can take that support back to The Hague and beyond.”
Participating delegates came to better understand the deeply rooted harm persisting in northern Uganda sixteen years after the LRA conflict and the need to redress this harm. Beneficiaries of the programme called upon the delegates to provide reparative measures more broadly to the victims,their children and communities. Delegates committed to advocate for increased international awareness and support in order to allow the TFV to continue its programmes in northern Uganda,
complementing the efforts of the Government of Uganda.
Recalling the commitment to victims and affected communities of atrocity crimes, President of the Assembly of States Parties, Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, called on States Parties of the Rome Statute to step up providing support to victims. “States Parties should cooperate with the ICC in order to ensure perpetrators of crimes are brought to justice, and the rights and needs of victim survivors are addressed. During my mandate, I will do my utmost to promote the important work of the Trust Fund for victims”.
Fourteen States participated in the monitoring visit this year, including the President of the Assembly of the States Parties, and representatives from the government of Australia, Belgium, Chile, Estonia,Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, United States, and the European Union. Also, Legal Representatives of Victims in the Ongwen case and civilsociety organisations participated in the visit.
For more information about the Trust Fund for Victims, please contact Scott Bartell on +256 772 700
632. or email: trustfundforvictims@icc-cpi.int or visit: www.trustfundforvictims.org
Background information:
In 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) were created under the Rome Statute. While the ICC is responsible for trying criminal cases involving the crime of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the TFV’s mission is to respond to the harm resulting from the crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC by ensuring the rights of victims and their families through the provision of reparation and assistance.
To achieve its mission, the TFV fulfils two unique mandates:
1- Implementing reparation awards ordered against a convicted person by the ICC.
2- providing assistance to victims and their families in ICC situations through rehabilitative
programmes of medical treatment, mental healthcare, and livelihood support.
In Uganda, the Trust Fund for Victims has been implementing its rehabilitation programme since 2008 across 22 districts of northern Uganda. To date, more than 60,000 Ugandans have been rehabilitated from injuries sustained in the armed conflict, and over 350,000 people indirectly benefitted from the programme. In 2022, the TFV has partnership with five locally based organisations to implement activities.
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Assistance and Justice for Victims How the Rome Statute and the Trust Fund for
Victims’ Rehabilitative Programme Fosters Justice
In 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court) and the Trust Fund for Victims (Trust Fund or TFV) were created under the Rome Statute. While the ICC is responsible for investigating and prosecuting criminal cases involving the crime of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity,the Trust Fund mission is to respond to the harm resulting from the crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC by ensuring the rights of victims and their families through the provision of reparations and
assistance.
To achieve its mission, the Trust Fund fulfils two unique mandates:
1) Implementing reparations awards ordered against a convicted person by the Court, and,
2) Providing assistance to victims and their families in ICC situations through programmes of psychological rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation, and material support.
The Trust Fund works with locally based implementing partners (non-governmental organizations)
in the situation countries under the assistance mandate, to provide healing services to victims who have suffered harm from the most serious international crimes, regardless of the question of who the perpetrator was of those crimes.
TFV Uganda Programme Overview
In 1986 Uganda became embroiled in a conflict in the northern region between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The United Nations estimates that more than100,000 Ugandans were killed in the conflict, an estimated 60,000-100,000 children and adults were abducted as combatants to the conflict, and more than 2.5 million people were displaced from their homes in the central African region between 1987 and 2012.
In 2004, the Ugandan government referred the situation in northern Uganda to the ICC to investigate violations of the Rome Statute on its territory. The ICC issued arrest warrants against five leaders of the LRA in 2005. Dominic Ongwen was taken into ICC custody in 2015 in the Central African Republic. Mr. Ongwen was convicted of 61 crimes against humanity and war crimes in February
2021 and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. The Ongwen case entered into the reparation phase of
proceeding in May 2021 with the solicitation of reparation observations. Mr. Ongwen has appealed
his conviction and decision is currently pending before the Appeals Chamber at the ICC.
In Uganda, the Trust Fund began implementing an assistance programme in 2008 across the
conflict affected region. The assistance provided to victims of the conflict between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army includes medical rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, and livelihood support. Activities are conducted in the conflict affected region of 4 greater northern Uganda. To date, between 2008 and 2021, the Trust Fund has assisted more than 60,000 direct beneficiairies and well over 350,000 indirect beneficiaries (family and community members).
The Trust Fund would like to appreciate the support that local authorities have extended to the programme over these many years. The Trust Fund realises that there are still victims of the conflict that continue to endure harm from conflict crimes and the Trust Fund reaffirms its support for victim rehabilitation projects. In April 2019 the Trust Fund launched a new five-year programmatic commitment to fund rehabilitation projects across northern Uganda.
Justice and Healing are integral aspects to one another and the Trust Fund is the healing part of international criminal justice. Together the ICC and the Trust Fund are meant to close the impunity gap as well as the healing gap, delivering tangible reparative value to victims, families, and communities.
The resilience of victims and their ability to overcome unimaginable harm should be the foundation for a just and peaceful society, built on shared trust and confidence in the future.
How do we implement rehabilitation?
Trust Fund assistance programming is conducted in partnership with NGO implementing partners including – Ugandan NGOs, International NGOs, Faith-based Organizations, Cultural Institutions,and Academic Institutions. Over the course of the Trust Fund’s programming in Uganda from 2008
to the present, the Trust Fund has partnered with more than 25 different organizations
providing rehabilitative assistance to victims across more than 22 districts of the conflict affected region of greater northern Uganda.
Trust Fund programming is providing rehabilitation assistance to victims across more than 22 districts of the conflict affected region, from Soroti west to Adjumani in the east and from the shores of Lake Kyoga north to the border with South Sudan.
Please take a moment to appreciate the magnitude and depth of Trust Fund assistance, rehabilitation projects, in the life of victims and in relation to other Court activities.
To date, between 2008 and 2021, more than 60,000 Ugandan victims have been rehabilitated
and directly benefited from Trust Fund programming. These victims have substantively
benefited from Trust Fund assistance programming, including rehabilitation efforts such as
surgery and medical treatment, trauma counselling and psychosocial services, and livelihood
support.
The number of victims that have been rehabilitated through Trust Fund assistance is more than the number of victims that engaged the Court through other avenues – participation, investigations, or witnesses combined. The tangible impact of Trust Fund activities on the lives and wellbeing of victims is tremendous particularly when considering the number of people, the budget, and the size of the Trust Fund in relation to the other organs and entities of the Court. The reach and scope of
Trust Fund assistance is an extraordinary good news story for the Court, and for the mission of the Rome Statute system.
Victim rehabilitation and assistance are life changing events and services provided to victims. These
are not minor injuries that we are addressing. These are injuries endured during conflict, inflicted on civilians during war, some of these injuries are physically or mentally debilitating and life altering.
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1) Medical treatment – Plastic surgery for facial disfigurement and burned victims, removing
bullets and bomb fragments, providing artificial limbs for amputees, physiotherapy, postoperative care and follow-up, chronic pain management, and specialized services for SGBV
survivors such as fistula repair.
2) Trauma counselling – Provision of clinical counselling services for individuals, families, and small groups. Trauma counselling to respond to mental health disorders such as PTSD,
depression, anxiety disorders, etc.
As one victim noted, “the counselling helped me to settle my heart and my mind from the
harm I endured and atrocities I witnessed in the war”.
In addition to counselling services the Trust Fund supports psycho-social programming to
promote community reconciliation initiatives. Peer support group activities include music,
dance, drama, and sports activities promoting healing and social cohesion. Psychosocial
activities also include peace building, community sensitization campaigns and workshops,
radio broadcasts concerning topics such acceptance, mitigating stigma (SGBV, child soldiers,
PWD), and promoting integration within communities.
3) Livelihood support – to victims that lost everything during the conflict because of attacks on
their homes and villages, multiple displacements, destruction of home and property,
abduction, and loss of education and livelihood opportunities. We support victims through
village savings and loan associations (VSLA), income generating activities, vocational
training, animal husbandry, and improved agriculture initiatives. Livelihood initiatives aim to revitalize local economies and rehabilitate household livelihoods.
These are life changing rehabilitative services that afford a degree of justice to victims of crimes.
That assists in their recovery from criminal harm. Many victims have stated that rehabilitation for their injury and help from the Trust Fund is a form of justice for them and their family.
As far back as 2010, in the period before the Kampala Review Conference the Trust Fund surveyed several thousand beneficiaries on their views of justice and rehabilitation. They indicated that receiving assistance was a form of justice to them, that their cry for help and attention to their problems was heard by the Trust Fund / ICC and we responded in a tangible manner to relieve their suffering. The government did not. But the Trust Fund at the ICC did and to those victims that was justice, the most justice they had ever experienced.
In many instances the Trust Fund is the only organization providing this type of rehabilitation to victims in the situation, without the Trust Fund more than 60,000 Ugandans and tens of thousands of
victims in the DRC, CAR, Mali, and Ivory Coast would still be suffering from their war injuries.
An assistance programme is not humanitarian support it is about vindicating victims’ rights to a remedy and rendering valuable rehabilitation to victims before the ICC, within the
jurisdiction of the Rome Statute.
Funding Between 2008 and 2021 the Trust Fund has contributed an estimated €12.5 million euros toward victim rehabilitation assistance programming across the conflict affected region of greater northern Uganda. In 2019 the Trust Fund initiated a new five-year programming commitment in
partnership with 5 NGO implementing partners.
6 The continued financial support and investment in assistance programming is absolutely worth it and necessary for victims in the situations, without which they would continue in their suffering and never finding justice.
The work of victim rehabilitation continues and we encourage all supporters and donors to pledge their support and to contribute towards Trust Fund assistance programming in Uganda.
The Trust Fund realises that there are still victims of the conflict that continue to endure harm from conflict crimes and the Trust Fund reaffirms its support for victim assistance and rehabilitation
projects. The resilience of victims and their ability to overcome unimaginable harm should be the foundation for a just and peaceful society, built on shared trust and confidence in the future.

Impact in 2021,In 2021 the Trust Fund assistance programme in Uganda provide rehabilitation services to 8,692
direct beneficiaries, individual Ugandans, that either received medical treatment or surgery, mental healthcare such as counselling, and livelihood support.
Of the 8,692 victims rehabilitated in 2021: 1,033 were survivors of sexual and gender-based violence,2,351 participated in livelihood/VSLA activities, 3,571 received medical treatment or surgery, 2,105
participated in peacebuilding initiatives, and 4,720 received mental healthcare such as counselling.

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