By Godfrey Olukya
ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo (AA) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Friday awarded reparations to victims of war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the first time.
A statement from the ICC said judges had allocated a symbolic $250 amount to each of 297 victims of a 2003 massacre in Bogoro village, Ituri province.
On hearing about the ICC decision on local radios and from cellphone messages, those who are to be compensated started celebrating.
This decision follows 2014 conviction of rebel leader Germain Katanga for leading the militia attacks on the village. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and has to pay the compensation.
Presiding judges also ordered targeted collective reparations in the form of housing assistance, support for income-generating activity, educational assistance and psychological support.
Philip Ngobo, an elder in Bogoro village said: ”It is good that those who suffered at the hands of the tormentors have been compensated. That money can be used to buy a few items by the affected people. Most of them became poor after losing their property to the attackers.”
But John Mumbare, whose parents are among those to receive reparations, said they lost a lot of property when they were attacked. He said $250 was too little and could not replace what was lost.