Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ICC Trust Fund for Victims: Elisabeth Rehn elected to the Board of Directors

From the Finnish Government's Ministry for Foreign Affairs
November 18, 2009 14.24
Elisabeth Rehn elected to the Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims
Elisabeth Rehn has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims within the International Criminal Court. The Board members were elected at the session of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court on 18 November in the Hague.

States Parties have been grouped into geographical areas, each of which has a representative on the Board of the Trust Fund for Victims. Elisabeth Rehn represents the group of Western European countries and Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A distinguished and internationally recognised human rights expert, she has previously served as a Member of the Finnish Parliament, Minister of Defence, Minister of Equality Affairs, a Member of the European Parliament, as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the former Yugoslavia. In recent years, she has dedicated herself to international tasks. In particular, the impact of war on women and their role in peace building have figured prominently on Rehn’s agenda.

Besides Elisabeth Rehn, the following persons were elected to the five-seat Board of Directors: Betty Kaari Murungi, human rights lawyer from Kenya; Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former President of Latvia; Eduardo Pizarro Leongómez, President of the National Reparation and Reconciliation Commission o Colombia; and Ambassador Bulgaa Altangerel of Mongolia. The Board’s principal task is to guide the Trust Fund’s activities and allocation of resources and to coordinate and oversee assistance projects. The Board reports to the Assembly of States Parties. The new Board will start its three-year term on 1 December 2009.

The Trust Fund for Victims was established in 2002. Its objective is to assist victims of crime and their families in cases being processed by the International Criminal Court. The crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Trust Fund and its mandate are unique when compared against other international tribunals.

The special target groups of the Trust Fund’s assistance efforts are victims of sexual violence, former child soldiers and abducted children, the families of murder victims and victims of other brutal crimes, and victimised villages. The Fund’s assets are mainly used for the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims and for material support. The Fund may also pay victims damages or other reparations by virtue of a decision given by the ICC during a trial. Initiatives for assistance projects come directly from target areas approved by the ICC. At present, a total of 29 projects are under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Uganda. The intention is to expand the scope of activities to the Central African Republic and to Sudan/Darfur.

The bulk of the funds used for assistance come as voluntary donations from states. Donations can also be made, for instance, by corporations, private individuals and organisations. The Court may also order that fines or other assets obtained be transferred to the Trust Fund. Finland has consistently supported the Trust Fund’s activities. In terms of the total contribution, Finland is one of the Fund’s biggest donors.

Additional information: Legislative Counsellor Sari Mäkelä, Unit for Public International Law, mobile tel. +358 40 739 2853, First Secretary Miia Aro-Sanchez, Embassy of Finland in the Hague, tel. +31 70 3110143
Crossposted on Sudan Watch and Congo Watch.

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