The International Criminal Court (ICC)
The Statute of the ICC provides innovative features giving effect to victims' rights access effective redress. The Court's legal framework enables victims’ participate in legal proceedings not just as witnesses for the prosecution, but as independent stakeholders with a recognised right to present their "views and concerns" at "stages of the proceedings determined to be apprpirate" and when their "personal interests [...] are affected". In relation to their right to participate, victims have a right to physical and psychological protection and support. Another key feature is the opportunity for victims to seek reparation for damage, loss and harm suffered, and the availability of a specially designated Trust Fund for Victims.
After successfully advocating for these key provisions to be included in the core mandate of the Court, REDRESS’ work has shifted focus to implementation:
- REDRESS assists NGOs who work with victims of conflict to enable victims to engage with the Court.
- We provide regular advice and suggestions to ICC officials on the implementation of the victims’ mandate. During the year, we provided input on the ICC’s Strategic Plan as it related to victims, the Registry’s plans for common legal representatives and contributed to discussions on proposed amendments to the system of legal aid. Also, we participated in discussions on the Court’s treatment of ‘intermediaries’ – mainly local civil society groups working to facilitate the Court’s access to victims and other stakeholders on the ground.
- We are working closely with civil society groups in many of the countries under scrutiny by the Court: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Uganda. Our collaboration with these groups is intended to facilitate and enable the perspectives from the field to be taken on board by the ICC in The Hague, and to encourage the effective participation of victims in proceedings. In the course of the year, we have undertaken extensive outreach and training with victims’ communities in Uganda and DRC and collaborated closely with lawyers and civil society groups.
- REDRESS coordinates the Victims’ Rights Working Group, a network of over 350 national and international civil society groups and experts created in 1997 under the auspices of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court. It was created by a number of international NGOs and experts and over the years has evolved to include NGOs from many countries around the world including those countries most intimately affected by the ICC. The Group and its member organisations continue to issue position and background papers, participating in all key meetings with the Court and the Assembly of States Parties.
Victims’ Rights Working Group, a website dedicated to victims’ rights at the ICC, coordinated by REDRESS