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Victims of Ongwen’s Atrocities Awarded €52.4m in ICC Ruling


dominic ongwen begins 25 year sentence in norway

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has made a significant ruling ordering €52.4 million, equivalent to over Shs223.7 billion, to be paid to the direct and indirect victims of the atrocities committed by Dominic Ongwen, a former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander currently serving a jail term. The court’s decision, delivered during a public hearing at the Hague-based court, involved Ongwen, his defense team, legal representatives of victims, and the common legal representative of victims.

Presiding judge Bertram Schmitt outlined the ruling, stating that the compensations for victims would include collective community-based reparations and a separate symbolic individual payment of €750 to each of the recorded 49,000 victims. The court emphasized the importance of considering the rights of both victims and the convicted person, ensuring fairness and equity in determining the compensation amount.

In addition to the compensation order, the court instructed the Trust Fund for victims to assess and submit victims’ data and the reparations protocol to the court within six months. The Trust Fund is also tasked with drafting implementation plans detailing the reparation and symbolic measures to be included in the collective community-based reparations.

The court adopted an eligibility process to determine the administrative assessment of victims’ claims, relying on previous precedents. Despite efforts to identify Ongwen’s assets for reparation, the court determined his financial inability to contribute to the reparations.

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To calculate the symbolic payment, the court estimated the total number of victims in the case to be approximately 49,772, resulting in a total amount of €37.3 million. Additionally, the court allocated €1,000 for other community symbolic measures such as apologies, ceremonies, monuments, and memorial prayers.

In acknowledging the risk of non-payment due to Ongwen’s financial situation, the court urged support from states, organizations, corporations, and individuals to assist the Trust Fund in fundraising efforts. This call for support aims to ensure the successful implementation of the reparations ordered by the court.

Dominic Ongwen was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by Trial Chamber IX on May 6, 2021, a decision that was upheld by the Appeals Chamber on December 15, 2022. His conviction and sentence are final, and he was transferred to Norway on December 18, 2023, to serve his term.

The ICC’s decision to award reparations to victims signifies a step towards acknowledging and addressing the suffering caused by Ongwen’s actions, aiming to provide some measure of justice and support to those affected by the atrocities.

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