The Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the ICC together with the Ambassadors of Canada, Senegal, and the Netherlands to the DRC visited TFV’s programme activities in Ituri province from 31 October to 4 November 2022 and saw first-hand how TFV reparative justice programmes are implemented in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The objectives of the visit were to understand the long lasting impact of the conflict, to connect with beneficiaries and affected communities and to see the results of the TFV programmes implementation in the DRC. The participating delegates had the opportunity to directly interact with project beneficiaries and hear their stories of resilience and hope, as well as to understand the complexity and operational challenges from partner organisations implementing the Court-ordered reparation programmes in the Lubanga and Katanga cases. During the visit, the delegates also witnessed the impact of the TFV’s transformative assistance programme which has been implemented since 2008, in the three eastern DRC provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu. The delegation was received by the Governor of Ituri, the Archbishop of Ituri and the Head of MONUSCO in Ituri.
H.E. Jolke Oppewal, Ambassador of The Netherlands to the DRC, said, “The testimonies show that the consequences of the conflicts for the population, for the children, for the parents, for everyone are enormous and create a lot of pain, this must stop. I am delighted to hear there are dialogues within the communities to achieve peace. Peace also comes with justice, not with impunity. Justice can be translated into reparation and support for victims. I really appreciate that the Trust Fund for Victims’ programmes are being implemented through locally based organisations, that is really at the local level to better support the victims.
In Bunia, Ituri province, the delegation visited a training and psychological centre attended by beneficiaries of Court-ordered reparations and was warmly welcomed by the “Ecole de Paix”, a peace education project. The TFV implementing partners with their beneficiaries, including those from South and North Kivu, presented their projects. The delegation, the Governor of Ituri and other invitees from international organisations in Bunia directly engaged with partners and beneficiaries, to learn more about the results of the psychological and physical rehabilitation and the socio-economic measures that support the beneficiaries.
H.E. Papa Talam-Diao, Ambassador of Senegal to the DRC, said, “We have seen extremely brave people who have fought to return to normal life despite all the trauma they have suffered. And I warmly congratulate them and hope that they will serve as an example for others.”
Lieutenant General Luboya Nkashama Jonhnny, Governor of Ituri, DRC, said, “I congratulate the victims here present who have given touching testimonies, they have emerged victoriously. I admire their courage and their strength, because the torturers could not destroy them. It is necessary to keep on cooperating on justice matters so that criminals are pursued and severely punished. […] Thanks to the Trust Fund for Victims for your presence in the DRC, through your activities in favour of victims.”
Nine beneficiaries had the courage to share with the delegation how the crimes occurred and how they have moved forward, thanks to the TFV programmes. Legal representatives of victims also attended the meeting with the beneficiaries of the Lubanga and Katanga cases.
Speaking about the visit, H.E. Benoît-Pierre Laramée, Ambassador of Canada to the DRC said, “I was very touched to hear the testimony from the victims. Reparation allows victims to rebuild their lives, to reintegrate and to have hope. Congratulations on what is being done in terms of reparation and justice for victims. I was also delighted to meet organizations that provide services to victims, to see that it's a truly holistic approach, in terms of health, psychosocial care, and socio-economic reintegration for victims into their society”.
The mission had the support of the International Criminal Court’s Country Office as well as of MONUSCO, both essential to its success.
Speaking about the visit, Franziska Eckelmans, TFV Acting Executive Director welcomed the strong support provided by the local authorities and leaders of the Ituri province during the visit, and highly appreciated the participation of Canada, the Netherlands, and Senegal in this mission. Ms Eckelmans added, “Justice is needed to work against the pervasive impunity in which Rome Statute crimes are committed in eastern DRC. Providing reparative justice is essential even though there is an ongoing conflict. Victims explained that reparations were waited for and receiving these changed their lives”. Please read here the statement on the conclusion of the mission.
Updated information on the TFV programme activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2022 can be accessed here.
For more information about Trust Fund for Victims’ programmes in DRC, please contact Kizita Forgwe, TFV Programme Manager in DRC at Kizita.Forgwe@icc-cpi.int, email us at or visit: