The International Criminal Court (ICC) has awarded $10 million in compensation to former child soldiers who had been forcefully conscripted into an extremely violent Congolese militia.
On Friday, the court in The Hague awarded $8,000 per person, or $3.4 million in total, for the 427 recognized victims, and allocated an additional $6.6 million for potential future awards.
“Further evidence established the existence of hundreds or even thousands of additional victims,” the court said in a statement.
The payment would fund psychological support and job training programs for the victims.
The ICC said convicted leader of Union of Congolese Patriots militia Thomas Lubanga, who is serving his sentence in a Congolese prison, was liable to pay the full amount to his young victims and their relatives.
The court, however, noted that since the imprisoned warlord would not be able to pay the amount, part of the payment would be made by a court trust fund provided by ICC member states. The fund should ask for contributions from the government of Congo as well.
In 2012, Lubanga was convicted of committing war crimes for recruiting and using boys and girls as bodyguards or sex slaves during conflicts in Congo’s eastern Ituri region in 2002-2003. At the time of the crimes all the victims were under 15.
According to aid agencies, an estimated number of 5.4 million people lost their lives as a result of the war in Congo between 1998 and 2007.
In March, the ICC ordered Germain Katanga, another former Congolese militia leader, to pay $1 million in damages to victims.