Lubanga Victims Testify
The Lubanga trial entered an unprecedented phase last week as the victims who are seeking reparations from Lubanga and the court testified about the harm they suffered because of Lubanga. The victims tesitfied about their experiences being abducted as child soldiers and of others being held in sexual slavery. A summary of the testimony of the first week of victims seeking reparations is available here.
The ICC process is unique in the history of war crimes prosecutions. Never before have the victims of war crimes had an opportunity to seek reparations and never have they had the opportunity to participate in the case as it is going on. This creates a difficulty for the defense as they have to defend the case on multiple fronts. Reparations will be funded not just by the parties convicted, but by a victims fund which the member states contribute to.
Victims may seek reparations, including psychological and physical rehabilitation services. To assist them in seeking reparations, victims may request appointed counsel of their choosing, if they do not select counsel, they will be represented by the Office of Public Counsel for Victims. Appointed counsel will not be funded by the courts and not by the victims personally.