By Susan Kendi and Thomas Verfuss
The ICC Trust Fund
for Victims has assistance programs in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of
the Congo for 11 years and provided assistance to 150,000 people and 65,000
During the sidelines
of the 18th session of the Assembly of State Parties held in World Forum,
Hague, Journalists For Justice reporters Susan Kendi and Thomas Verfuss sat
down with the Chairman of Trust Fund for Victims, H.E Felipe Michelini and
Trust Fund for Victims Uganda Programs Manager Scott Bartell to find out their experience
in delivering assistance to victims in different African countries.
This is the second
installment of the two part interview.
JFJustice: We know that the trust fund for victims has been offering
some assistance mandate in some African countries.
Felipe Michelini: Well has been very good in terms of once we
know what we have to do and Scott can tell you his experience as a project
manager in Uganda and other countries that he has been working with. So I give
the floor to him.
Scott Bartell: For example what we have been doing in
another places, we have had a program in Uganda for 11 years. We have had a
program in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo for 11 years as well.
In Uganda, we have been implementing a program providing medical treatment to
victims, counselling, psychosocial support and livelihood activities. We have
managed to provide assistance to 150,000 people over our eleven years of programming.
Similarly, in the Congo we have been implementing programs of livelihood,
counseling and some medical support and I think there we have managed to assist
more than 65,000 people in that same time period.
Scott Bartell: So we do have some understanding about how
to implement programs, we have ideas, once we have a report for the board to
consider and the board makes a determination that yes, an assistance program
should be set up in a given situation and we have certain mechanisms in place
on how we how we should do that. But a particular program in each country is
informed by particular assessment. The types of injuries that occur, the types
of categories of victims is different from situation to situation. So we will
be looking at developing programs.
Scott Bartell: The trust fund in general we have to work
through implementing partners, we have to partner with local NGOs and other
organizations that provide the livelihood, provide the medical assistance and
provide the counseling and so we will have to partner with them. We try to pick
organizations with certain technical capacity and experience implementing those
types of activities but also have experience in that context, in that
environment and understand the context of the conflict and are able to work
with the communities.
JFJustice: Having worked in different African countries what are some
of the lessons that the Trust Fund for Victims has learnt?
Felipe Michelini: The first lesson is that you cannot step in
if you don’t have a clear plan with local partners, [or] with a
script because the expectations of people, the communities, families, organizations
and victims and survivors are very high. They think that the trust fund can do
many things that we can do but we can do very little.
Felipe Michelini: The second thing is that, we have to clearly
identify which are the real needs for certain populations. So it is not just to
come and to start guessing or playing God these are their needs and these are
not. We have to identify clearly what the needs for those victims, survivors and
Felipe Michelini: Third, we have to do in a transparent way.
It cannot be done in a way that the trust fund can be accused of choosing the
wrong partners, that the money does not go to the people and these kind of
things and that takes time to do it that way. So we hope that once we receive
the report on resolve it we will have a short time, all these points resolved
to do our best in Kenya.