The Netherlands pledges to help compensate victims of Congolese war criminal

Victims of a Congolese war criminal are to receive compensation for the suffering they endured, thanks in part to a financial contribution from the Netherlands. On Wednesday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pledged to contribute to a fund set up by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to support the victims of the most serious crimes.

The beneficiaries are victims of the Congolese warlord Germain Katanga living in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Katanga has been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for murder, pillaging and other war crimes.

In its judgment, the ICC ruled that Katanga must pay compensation to his victims, and awarded approximately 300 individuals amounts of USD 250 each. As he is currently unable to pay, the Netherlands will advance the money, ensuring that the victims receive compensation as soon as possible. The ICC will closely monitor Katanga’s financial situation and recover the amounts advanced if and when possible.

Thanks to the Netherlands’ contribution of EUR 200,000, the ICC Trust Fund for Victims will now be able to pay out the amounts awarded. ‘These reparations can bring relief to the victims in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said foreign minister Bert Koenders. ‘They have suffered a great deal and we must not make them wait any longer.’

This is the first time that the ICC has awarded reparations to individual victims. Reparations were previously only paid to groups of victims as a whole.