The Two Roles of the TFV


Reparations and General Assistance

The TFV mission is to support programmes which address the harms resulting from crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC. The two mandates of the TFV were established to provide support to victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since the 1st of July 2002:

1) Reparations Mandate: implementing awards for reparations ordered by the Court against a convicted person;

2) Assistance Mandate: using other resources (voluntary contributions and private donations) to provide victims under Court jurisdiction with physical rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, and/or material support.


Reparations Mandate

The Court shall establish principles relating to reparations to, or in respect of, victims, including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation” (Article 75 (1) of the Rome Statute).

The reparations mandate allows the TFV to collect fines or forfeitures from a convicted individual in a war crimes case, in order to provide reparations awards to victims. These reparations can be individual or collective, and can take many different forms, including restitution, compensation and rehabilitation. However, reparations are not limited to just individual, monetary compensation; they may also be awarded in more collective or symbolic forms, as measures that can help to promote reconciliation within divided communities.  This broad mandate allows the Court to identify and award the most appropriate forms of reparation in light of the context of the case, and in light of the rights and wishes of the victims and their communities.

In addition, the Court may order that an award for reparations against a convicted person be deposited with the TFV, if at the time of making the order, it is impossible or impracticable to make individual awards directly to each victim.


Assistance Mandate

[Defined as] “…resources other than those collected from awards for reparations, fines and forfeitures” (Regulation 47 of the Regulations of the Trust Fund for Victims).

The TFV’s assistance mandate enables victims of crimes (as defined in Rule 85 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence) and their families who have suffered physical, psychological and/or material harm as result of war crimes, to receive assistance separately from, and prior to, a conviction by the Court. This assistance relies upon resources the Trust Fund has raised through voluntary contributions, and is distinct to reparations awards, in that it is not linked to a conviction. The key difference between the assistance and reparations mandates is that reparations are linked to accountability, arising from individual criminal responsibility of a convicted person, whereas the assistance mandate is not.

The assistance mandate is crucial in helping to repair the harm that victims have suffered, by providing assistance: 1) in a timelier manner than the judicial process may allowed, and 2) to a more extensive range of victims who are affected by the broader situations before the Court, regardless of whether the harm they suffered stems from particular crimes charged in a specific case. In particular, earmarked funding constitutes an important component of the TFV’s resources under the assistance mandate, especially for supporting victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

The assistance mandate consists of three forms of support:

1) Physical Rehabilitation: To address the care and rehabilitation of those victims who have suffered physical injury, in order to recover and resume their roles as productive and contributing members of their societies.

2) Psychological Rehabilitation: To offer cost-effective psychological, social and other health benefits as a means to assist in the recovery of victims, and to educate local populations about the needs of victims.

3) Material Support: To improve the economic status of victims as a means to assist in their recovery.


A closer look at the TFV’s assistance mandate


1. Physical Rehabilitation

“With this artificial limb I am like any other person. I can cook, fetch water and dig”

(Female victim, Gulu, Uganda)

Physical rehabilitation provides victim survivors with an extensive degree of physical healing, which enables them to function as normally as possible in their communities and to re-engage in regular community life. Physical rehabilitation is therefore a highly promising means to attempt to restore the normalcy of daily life (as much as is possible) in post-conflict settings.

In the two situations the TFV in currently active in, northern Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the TFV’s programme activities for physical rehabilitation respond to human rights violations and losses experienced by victim survivors. These may include burns and chronic wounds, mutilation of ears, noses or lips, loss of limbs due to human amputation, and land mine incidents.

In both situations, the TFV has been working with implementing partners to provide prosthetics fittings and provisions, referrals to specialised providers for reconstructive and general surgery, bullet and bomb fragment removal and physiotherapy sessions to victims. Further examples include improving disabled access to civic buildings in Gulu, and the identification, referral, and assisted transportation of survivors of sexual violence in order for them to access fistula repair, HIV tests and treatment, post-exposure-prophylaxis (PEP), and other specialised medical care. 

The most significant changes which beneficiaries have reported back are the ability to live a normal life again, to make plans for the future, to resume school and gardening, the confidence to participate in community gatherings again, and a restoration of independence and self-reliance.


2. Psychological Rehabilitation

             “We got advice to help lift our shame and raise our self-esteem… to see ourselves as equal               to everyone else again” (Female victim, Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo)

The TFV’s psychological rehabilitation programmes respond to the needs of thousands of victims suffering from psychosocial and trauma-related conditions. These include (but are not limited to), persons who have and/or continue to suffer from sexual and gender based violence, child soldiers, formerly abducted persons, and other vulnerable beneficiaries. The TFV’s psychological rehabilitation activities seek to promote a culture of acceptance in order to reduce the stigmatization of victim survivors, and to revive long-held community values of trust, communal responsibility and peaceful coexistence.

In both of the currently active situations of the TFV, a number of key strategies have been and continue to be implemented. These include providing training for professional trauma counsellors, individual and group-based counselling to provide immediate emotional and psychosocial support, community-led healing of memories initiatives and therapy sessions, awareness-raising and peace-building activities, school-based participatory peace promotion (run by trained animateurs), and sensitization activities.

Many of the TFV’s implementing partners working in the area of psychological rehabilitation employ a group-based model. These efforts reach a larger number of victim beneficiaries, and offer victims an outlet to share their stories of trauma and violation if they wish to. These activities often result in a certain degree of healing, and contribute directly to broader goals of reconciliation and the promotion of a culture of peace.

The most significant changes reported back by beneficiaries include a more positive outlook to life and increased confidence and social cohesion, enabling them to participate in community activities. Many respondents, especially sexual and gender-based violence survivors, said that after psychological rehabilitation, they were able to stop blaming themselves for the crimes they had experienced.    


3. Material Support

“Those who continue with the MUSO do so because it brings them together. It teaches them to save, even little by little. They learn to love each other” (Female MUSO member, Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo)

The TFV aims to provide material support in order to respond to the urgent socio-economic conditions of victims in war-affected areas under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Issues which the TFV seeks to address include the destruction of property, and the consequences of displacement and the loss of income-earning family members, all of which diminish the sources of livelihood and subsistence.

The establishment of community-based savings and solidarity groups are one of the primary interventions of the TFV. In northern Uganda, these groups are mainly structured on the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model, pioneered by CARE International. In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, savings groups are mainly based on the Mutuelle de Solidarité (MUSO) model and the Savings and Internal Lending Committee (SILC) model. Their common objective is the same; to promote greater economic security and to foster a sense of shared responsibility among participants.

In northern Uganda, the TFV supports other activities to revive livelihoods, including the provision of vocational training for bee-keeping, improved agricultural techniques, tree-planting and the introduction and scaling-up of new commercial crops (for example chilli growing). In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the TFV supports partners who provide direct support for individual victims in the form of micro-credit initiatives, vocational training, literacy training, and for developing community savings groups. Further forms of assistance include education and learning grants, reintegration programmes for ex-child soldiers, rebuilding of community infrastructure, and creation of employment opportunities.

Previous TFV programmes have indicated that the longer term sustainability and impact of material assistance has been highly rewarding and promising. Savings groups in particular are a strong demonstration of the potential for community-grown, community-owned and community-managed interventions in post-conflict settings. Economic activities such as these are empowering for group members, as evinced in their strong sense of dignity and self-worth.

The changes reported back by victim participants include the ability to pay school fees, to afford more than one meal a day, improved housing and newfound ability to purchase parcels of land, and the ability to make capital investments for small businesses (on both an individual and a collective basis). In addition, many respondents attributed the ability to return to work and be economically active as the greatest contributor to improvements in their sense of security and their mental health.  

Cross-cutting themes

Underlying the TFV’s work across all of its programmes are seven cross-cutting themes which guide the activities of TFV-supported projects:

1. Support the advancement of women’s human rights; increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives, including addressing disparities; and the impact of sexual and gender-based violence in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security.

2. Restore dignity and promote peace building, community reconciliation, acceptance, and social inclusion through conflict-prevention, the rebuilding of community safety nets, and mitigation of stigma, discrimination, and trauma.

3. Support the rights of children affected by armed conflict by supporting intergenerational responses for integrating and rehabilitating former child soldiers and other war-affected youth in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

4. Develop and implement communications and outreach initiatives for cultivating relationships, enhancing visibility, mobilising communities, changing attitudes, managing crisis, generating support, and encouraging financial contributions.

5. Based on best practice and evidence-based programming, link grant-making to technical and organisational capacity building activities to ensure sustainability.

6. Work with implementing partners to assess, mitigate and evaluate the likely environmental impact of a proposed project or programme, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

7. Facilitate action learning through participatory planning, research, programming, monitoring and evaluation by safeguarding a dynamic, interactional, and transformative process between people, groups, and institutions that enables victims both individually and collectively, to realize their full potential and be engaged in their own redress.


A closer look at the TFV’s cross-cutting themes


Gender mainstreaming

Across the world, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the violence and instability which occurs during, and results from, armed conflict. The TFV aims to address the gendered realities of its beneficiaries in order to provide more effective interventions. Addressing the specific needs of victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a crucial component not only in their rehabilitation, but to wider reconciliation processes.

The TFV applies two approaches in all its programmes; a mainstreaming approach, which aims to ensure a gender-based perspective across all programming, and a specific targeting approach, which aims to address specific crimes such as rape, sexual enslavement, forced pregnancy, forced sterilisation and other forms of SGBV. Both are key steps in achieving the TFV’s mission of addressing the harm resulting from crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

These approaches are in compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820 and 1889, and the 2007 Nairobi Declaration on the Right of Women and Girls to a Remedy and Reparation. The TFV has also informed its approach to gender mainstreaming based on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action, and the World Health Organisation’s Ethical Standards and Procedures for Research with Human Beings. In doing so, the TFV takes care to promote women and girls’ empowerment and address the specific needs of male and female victim survivors in different age groups – a fundamental requirement of any rehabilitation, reparations and peace-building process.

The TFV emphasizes gender mainstreaming as a key requirement for its implementing partners and their sub-grantees. Examples of gender mainstreaming may include gender training among the TFV’s partners at grassroots level, aiming for a balanced participation of women and men in programme activities, and requiring sex disaggregated data for all projects. More specifically, gender mainstreaming has also been tailored to address SGBV. Females are the majority of victims of SGBV, which include (but are not limited to) crimes of rape, abduction, and forced “marriage” perpetrated during attacks on villages. These crimes and other forms of domestic violence continue to be committed and seep into the period of displacement and settlement, including up to the present day.

Women cannot achieve gender equality and sexual and reproductive health without the cooperation and participation of men. Clearly, men need to be involved if gender equality is to be achieved and programmes supporting survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are to succeed. It is crucial to recognize that crimes of SGBV do affect men as well as women, but unfortunately social norms related to tabboos against homosexuality make it particularly difficult to identify male victims, and to address their needs. Effective programmes recognize that gender roles and relations are dependent on social contexts in which cultural, religious, economic, political and social circumstances are intertwined. They are based on the idea that gender relations are not static and can be changed.

Thus TFV programme activities which address SGBV have two main objectives: 1) to provide a healthy and psychosocial response to cases of SGBV; and 2) to mobilize communities and increase awareness of SGBV and the rights of victim survivors. In the Democratic Republic of Congo for example, to date, the TFV has established five counselling centres, sixteen community working groups in four project sites, and four groups of community activists. An estimated 2,160 women and girls received emergency response medical care, post-exposure prophylaxis, and psychological care in response to SGBV. Family mediation was also provided to encourage parents and/or husbands of survivors of SGBV to allow them, and their children, to return home.


Peace building, community reconciliation, acceptance, and social inclusion:

The TFV works in situations where the level of disruption to daily life and community cohesion is immeasurable. Armed conflict tears apart the social fabric of communities, through the loss of family members, through redefined gender roles, through inter-ethnic violence, as well as through the stigma faced by former child soldiers, survivors of sexual violence, and children born as a result of rape. Peace-building, reconciliation, and reintegration, therefore constitutes very important components of TFV projects, and these objectives have been incorporated into interventions by all of the TFV’s programme partners. Central to these interventions is the promotion of transitional justice, social cohesion, and a culture of non-violence.

In its support of community reconciliation, the TFV has advocated projects which provide trauma and therapeutic counselling, the distribution of reintegration kits to both individuals and collective groups (these may include goats, cuttings, and shelter and veterinary supplies), drama groups and community peace activities. Other initiatives include youth camps, peace schools, art therapy, sensitization programmes (such as radio shows), vocational training, and providing training to elders and traditional leaders on peace building and reconciliation strategies.

The TFV continues to foster intercommunity dialogue aimed at establishing a community forum in areas most affected by the conflict under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Community dialogue provides an opportunity for victims and their families to discuss the underlying causes of the conflict, and to address community understandings and perceptions that can prevent or fuel conflict. This process will help to rebuild trust within and between communities, and foster reconciliation. In the Democratic Republic of Congo for example, beneficiaries identified such issues as lack of trust between communities, failure to abide by peace accords, police/military/government harassment, presence of armed groups, banditry and many more issues. To address these issues and to encourage the rebuilding of community safety nets, activities such as marches, religious services, theatre, concerts and sports activities were held, through which key messages were integrated.

These diverse efforts to address and promote inter-group cooperation and community reconciliation are likely to carry lasting impacts in the lives of individual beneficiaries, their families and their communities, helping to rebuild trust within and between communities.


Environmental Impact

To date, the ICC does not yet have a “green” policy; however the TFV has taken measures to incorporate environmental protection into its programmes. To begin with, the TFV has adopted a broad definition of the “Environment” in the context of its operations, to consist of such aspects as human beings, cultural environment, and biological diversity, in addition to land, water and air. “Impacts” are defined as changes in one or more of the above aspects, resulting from an undertaking of a particular project activity. An environment impact assessment survey carried out in September 2012 revealed that about a third of the TFV funded organisations reported having an environmental component in their project design. Example components include providing training for personnel in water and soil conservation, setting up plant and tree nurseries, the inclusion of issues such as animal traction, water management and sanitation, and land use and agriculture in the project design.

The TFV is dedicated to environmental protection. A new requirement in the project selection process ensures that any approved project must have a clearly expressed plan for minimizing environmental damage, and maximizing protective efforts.