Meeting of members of the Victims' Rights Working Group in London, 2006
Victims' Rights Working Group
The Victims' Rights Working Group (VRWG) is a network of over 300 national and international civil society groups and experts created in 1997 under the auspices of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and currently facilitated by REDRESS. It was created by a number of international NGOs and experts but over the years has evolved to include NGOs from a wide array of countries around the world including those countries most intimately affected by the ICC (Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda).
The VRWG works to ensure that victims’ rights are effectively protected and respected, and that their needs and concerns are met throughout the judicial process of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Leading up to the adoption of the ICC Statute in 1998, members’ expertise and key work with Governments led to a number of critical provisions for victims being incorporated into the Statute: strong measures for victim protection, and for the first time before an international criminal tribunal, the ability for victims to participate actively in proceedings and to claim reparation. These developments have already had an enormous impact on Court proceedings; and the VRWG’s current work is designed to ensure that the Court effectively implements these provisions, making justice for victims a reality for the first time. Particular attention is paid to the need to ensure that the ICC will render not only retributive, but also restorative justice that will aim, inter alia, to prevent re-victimization, to break cycles of violence, and to provide reparations and rehabilitation for victims. The VRWG advocates for fair and effective structures and procedures at the Court to facilitate victims' full and active participation.
The VRWG and its constituent members were represented at the Preparatory Committee Meetings prior to the Rome Conference, at the Rome Conference itself and subsequent Preparatory Commission meetings, during which the Court’s Rules and Regulations were drafted. Member organisations of the Working Group continue to issue numerous position and background papers, participating in all key meetings with the Court and the Assembly of States Parties.