ICC awards record $56 million in reparations to victims of Ugandan militia

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday, February 28, issued a landmark ruling ordering compensation totaling more than 52 million euros ($56 million) for nearly 50,000 victims of Ugandan militia leader Dominic Ongwen, marking the highest reparations order in the tribunal’s history.

Ongwen, who ascended from a child soldier to a top commander within the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), was deemed financially incapable of paying the reparations himself. Consequently, the court has requested assistance from its Trust Fund for Victims to facilitate the payments.

Victims are slated to receive a symbolic 750 euros each, alongside collective reparations that include rehabilitation programs and the construction of memorial sites. In 2021, Ongwen was found guilty of 60 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, encompassing charges of rape, murder, and child abduction, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He is presently serving his sentence in Norway.

The LRA, under the leadership of the still-at-large Joseph Kony, engaged in a brutal insurgency against the Ugandan government led by President Yoweri Museveni, operating from northern Uganda and adjacent regions for nearly two decades. Although the LRA’s influence has significantly declined, Kony remains among the most sought-after fugitives by the ICC.