DRC: Lubanga Reparations Decision Should be Celebrated, but Only When Victims Receive Compensation



A Congolese man sits in a social center on May 29, 2012 at the Mugunga III internally displaced people camp near the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. PHIL MOORE/AFP/GettyImages

The decision on reparations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the case of Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga sets a historic precedent, but it should not be celebrated until victims in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are fully compensated through an inclusive and participatory process.

The Lubanga decision stated that reparations “go beyond the notion of punitive justice, towards a solution which is more inclusive, encourages participation and recognizes the need to provide effective remedies for victims.”

Yet Ruben Carranza, director of ICTJ’s Reparative Justice program, is cautious about celebrating before the process is complete. In ICTJ’s latest podcast, Carranza warns that the impact of the decision will only be proven through delivering its promise of compensation. “It will be important for those supporting the ICC, and those who are interested in international justice, to ensure that it goes beyond celebrating this milestone,” said Carranza. “We should go beyond recognizing a step as being historically significant, because it may not yet be significant for those who actually should receive reparations.”

Listen to the podcast