International Criminal Court (ICC) President begins Uganda visit

Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC President
Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC President is scheduled to meet thousands of LRA victims in Northern Uganda. Courtesy Photo/ICC.

The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi has met the court’s staff in Kampala ahead of her planned visit to Northern Uganda.

Details of the meeting with the court’s staff in Kampala could not be revealed. ICC Outreach Coordinator, Maria Kamara said the meeting was administrative in nature.

Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi is expected to meet thousands of victims now benefiting from assistance by the Trust Fund For Victims.

Trust Fund for Victims supports and implements programmes that address harm resulting from genocide, crimes of humanity and war crimes.

The Trust fund for Victims according to Maria Kamara has in Northern Uganda been providing interim assistance to the mutilated victims whose issues cannot wait until when the trial of the alleged perpetrators is completed.

According to the International criminal court Statute, reparations to victims of atrocities can only be accorded to victims at the end of a trial when court has ordered reparations.

But even if there is no trial like the case of Uganda, the Trust Fund can carry out activities to provide assistance through physical, psychological, and material support to victims and their families victims.

Over forty two thousand victims of the LRA insurgency are beneficiaries of the Trust Fund For Victims. The Trust fund for Victims is an independent body associated with the International Criminal Court under the Rome Statute.

Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi visit to Gulu according to Kamara is aimed at raising awareness about the Trust Fund For Victims.

She is also expected to meet with government officials in Kampala. It is not clear whether she will meet President Museveni who of recent has been critical of the International Criminal Court.

Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi is also planned to meet a number of ambassadors like Japanese Ambassador, Kazuaki Kameda and a reception hosted Ireland’s Ambassador,  Dónal Cronin.

A statement from ICC Outreach office in Kampala says during the reception, Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi will engage with members of the diplomatic community and officials.

ICC Investigations in Uganda opened in 2004 with regard to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity mainly in Northern Uganda since 1 July 2002, the date on which the Court’s jurisdiction begins.

The ICC issued its first ever arrest warrant in this situation, against Joseph Kony and other alleged LRA commanders, and currently has one ongoing trial related to this situation, in the case The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen.

– Uganda Radio Network