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African countries urged to give to ICC victims fund

Out of 34 African court member states, only three -- South Africa, Namibia and Senegal -- have made donations to the fund

01.03.2017
African countries urged to give to ICC victims fund

By Halima Athumani

KAMPALA, Uganda 

African members of the International Criminal Court were urged Wednesday to contribute money to a trust fund for hundreds of thousands of victims of civil war and other violence.

“We would like to invite all ICC member states including in the African continent, to contribute up to their measure of means to the trust fund to show solidarity with the victims.” Scott Bertell, the fund’s regional program manager, told a press conference.

Out of 34 African countries that are court member states, only three -- South Africa, Namibia and Senegal -- have made donations, he said.

The International Criminal Court and the Trust Fund for Victims both date to 2002, and the fund tries to ensure the rights of victims and families of crimes under ICC jurisdiction through providing reparations and assistance.

The Trust Fund has been working in both Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2008, according to the ICC. In Uganda over 42,000 war victims get direct support and over 61,000 in the DRC. The fund also benefits over 350,000 war victims indirectly in both countries.

The ICC team visiting Uganda was led by the court head, Judge Silvia Fenandez de Gurmendi, who did not speak to the press as she was meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

The team met several war victims of the 20-year Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion in Northern Uganda.

Peiter de Baan, the fund’s executive director, said they have been forced to make choices on the basis of priorities. “The most vulnerable include those who have been mutilated, treat amputation wounds, and women and girls who have been harmed in the conflict.”

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