Press release: Following Mr Bemba’s acquittal, Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC decides to accelerate launch of assistance programme in Central African Republic
Today, 13 June 2018, the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (“Fund” and “Board”) at the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) informed the President of Assembly of States Parties of its unanimous decision, following Mr Bemba’s acquittal decision on 8 June 2018, to accelerate the launch of a programme under its assistance mandate. The assistance programme will be provided in the form of physical and psychological rehabilitation, as well as material support, for the benefit of victims and their families in the situation of the Central African Republic (“CAR I”).
The Board will consider first the harms suffered by victims in the Bemba case, as well as harms from sexual and gender based violence (“SGBV”) arising out of the situation in CAR I. The Fund will urgently engage in consultations with the CAR government authorities, civil society, international actors, and the legal representative of victims in the Bemba case.
“As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, the Trust Fund for Victims reiterates its unwavering commitment to respond to harms of victims and their families by providing meaningful and reparative assistance to them.
The Trust Fund for Victims is mindful of the profound suffering of victims of the conflict in the situation of the Central African Republic, particularly in regards to victims of sexual and gender based violence, and is taking careful note of the extensive evidence of victim suffering established in the context of the Bemba case. Regardless of the judicial outcome, victims in the Bemba case are, by definition, victims of the situation in CAR I.
The Trust Fund for Victims wishes to assure the victims in the Bemba case and other victims who have suffered harm in the CAR I situation: You are not forgotten. The harms you have suffered are recognized and urgently call for a meaningful response.”
- Statement from the Trust Fund for Victims’ Board of Directors
The Board calls on all States Parties to join in providing meaningful and much-needed assistance by making a voluntary contribution for the benefit of victims and their families in the CAR I situation.
Reallocating resources from available funds, the Board decided to establish a starting capital of €1 million for the Trust Fund’s assistance programme for the benefit of victims and their families in the CAR I situation. The Fund’s resources for its assistance activities come from voluntary contributions from States Parties, as well as institutional and individual private donors.
In 2013, the Fund was close to launching the assistance mandate programme in CAR focused on SGBV victims, but activities were suspended and eventually cancelled due to the security situation. The Fund will urgently undertake victim harms and needs assessment as well as new security assessment for the purposes of launching an assistance mandate programme in CAR.
The Fund intends to begin the assessment process to evaluate the possibility of launching other assistance mandate programmes, starting in the Kenya situation.