Victims are those who have suffered harm as a result of the commission of any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.
Victims may include individual people, but also organizations or institutions that have sustained direct harm to any of their property which is dedicated to religion, education, art or science or charitable purposes, and to their historic monuments, hospitals and other places and objects for humanitarian purposes. See Rules of Procedure and Evidence, rules 85 and 86.
Relevant Court staff are trained to work with victims and address their specific needs, particularly children, elderly persons, persons with disabilities and victims of sexual or gender violence.
Victim application process in the
Al Hassan case
On 31 March 2018, Mr Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was surrendered to the International Criminal Court ("ICC") on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Timbuktu. The surrender follows an arrest warrant issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I ("Chamber") of 27 March 2018. On 4 April 2018, Mr Al Hassan appeared before the Single Judge of the Chamber for an initial appearance hearing held in the presence of the Prosecutor and Mr Al Hassan's defence counsel. The Single Judge provisionally set the date for the beginning of the confirmation of charges hearing in the Prosecutor v. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud case ("Al Hassan case") for 24 September 2018. By decision of 20 July 2018, following observations by the parties, the beginning of the confirmation of charges hearing was postponed to 6 May 2019.
The Victims Participation and Reparations Section ("VPRS") of the Registry is responsible for assisting victims in the process of applying for participation in proceedings, and reparations in case of a conviction. It also assists victims and the Chamber in finding an appropriate legal representation of victims during the proceedings.
On 24 May 2018, the Chamber issued a decision on the principles applicable to victims' participation in the case by which, inter alia, it approved a joint form for participation and reparations to be used for the purpose of applying for participation and/or reparations in the Al Hassan case.
The VPRS has now commenced the process of collecting victims' application forms for participation in the proceedings and/or reparations.
There are two forms that victims can use, according to their situation: one form is for individuals, and the other is for organisations (nota bene: according to rule 85(b) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, organisations that may participate in proceedings before the ICC are organisations or institutions whose property dedicated to certain purposes - religion, education, art, science or charitable and humanitarian purposes, or historic monuments or hospitals - has been harmed as a result of ICC crimes).
The PDF forms and the guidelines on how to fill in the forms are available for download here
. The online form
that can be filled in directly on the website without downloading the document is also available here
. A Question & Answer document which responds to the most frequently asked questions and key points on legal representation of victims are also available for download here
Please contact VPRS at VPRS.Applications@icc-cpi.int for any questions relating to the filling in of the victim application form and any related issue.
The VPRS can receive applications at any time. However, please note that the Chamber ordered the VPRS to transmit applications for participation in the confirmation of charges hearing at the latest 30 days before the start of the hearing. Since the confirmation of charges hearing was postponed to 6 May 2019, the deadline for transmitting applications for participation to the Chamber was also postponed (ie. by 6 April 2019).
In order to maximize the chances that applications be received and processed by the VPRS on time to meet this deadline, we encourage you to submit your application to the VPRS as soon as possible and ideally before 22 March 2019. Applications received after the deadline will also be considered, but applicants may not be able to participate in proceedings as early as for the hearing on the confirmation of charges. If you have questions regarding the timeline, please contact the VPRS.
Please note that the purpose of the application form for participation in the proceedings and for reparations is NOT to provide evidence. The collection of evidence is not within the mandate of the VPRS, but that of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). The OTP generally receives any relevant information that may be considered as evidence relating to crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC at: firstname.lastname@example.org, at any time.
Victims do not have to travel to the seat of the Court and their lawyer ensures that at all stages of the proceedings, their views and concerns are heard on matters where their personal interests are affected.
Such participation is voluntary and victims have to fill-in a written application which will be considered by the Court. From this very moment, the identities of victims are protected in the proceedings by a pseudonym attributed to them by the Court (for example: a/0001/18) and their names consequently do not appear in the public domain.
The timing and manner of the victims' participation are determined by the Judges depending on the stage of the proceedings. Victims' lawyers may be notified of submissions made in the relevant case, may attend hearings and make oral submissions, may file written submissions, or be allowed to question witnesses.
The set of rights developed by the Court enables victims, through their lawyers, to express an opinion independently of the Prosecution or the Defence. The various Chambers of the Court have notably recognised that victims' participation assists them in uncovering the truth.
Within the Court, the Office of Public Counsel for the Victims (OPCV) provides legal representation to victims throughout proceedings, as well as assistance and support to external lawyers appointed by victims. The OPCV is an independent office and falls within the Registry solely for administrative purposes. This independence is a prerequisite for carrying out the mandate of assisting and representing legal representatives of victims and victims. Such independence allows the Office to work without being subjected to pressure of any kind and preserves the privileged relationship between victims and their lawyers. The Office has also an important role in enhancing the rights of victims in the proceedings, advocating at different levels and participating in specialised meetings with subsidiary bodies of the Assembly of States Parties and NGOs. For more information, please write at OPCV@icc-cpi.int
Learn how to
apply to participate in proceedings as a victim or assist someone in applying to participate.
To enquire about the applicable form for specific proceedings, please contact the Victims Participation and Reparations Section of the ICC.
Victims Participation and Reparations Section
International Criminal Court
Po Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
Contact telephone number: +31(0)70 515 95 55
Learn more about
representing victims before the ICC as a lawyer, and get more information for
Distinct from participation in Court proceedings, victims can seek reparation for the harm that they have suffered.
At the end of a trial, if there is a conviction, the Trial Chamber may order a convicted person to pay reparations to the victims of the crimes of which the person was found guilty. The Court may order such reparations to be paid through the
Trust Fund for Victims.
The Court may award reparations on an individual and/or collective basis, whichever is, in its view, the most appropriate for the victims in the particular case. The ICC thus not only seeks to bring criminals to justice but also to help the victims themselves rebuild their lives.
Collective and/or individual reparations may include monetary compensation, return of property, rehabilitation, medical support, victims' services centres, or symbolic measures such as apologies or memorials.
At this stage of the proceedings, victims are also represented by a lawyer who will be in a position to present relevant information to the Chamber on behalf of his or her clients.
To learn how to apply for reparation as a victim or assist someone in applying to for reparation, contact
Assistance to victims
Separate from reparations, which can only be delivered after a defendant has been convicted, the Rome Statute allows for assistance to victims through the
Trust Fund for Victims, following a decision by an ICC Pre-Trial Chamber.
Submitting communications to the Office of the Prosecutor
International Criminal Court Bar Association
International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) is an independent, professional association representing the interests of Counsel and legal Support Staff who represent victims, defendants and other actors (such as witnesses) before the ICC. The ICCBA serves as a collective voice for its membership, and provides them a range of support and services, as well as acting as a forum for discussion on all matters pertaining to the Court. The ICCBA's operations are primarily funded by the subscriptions paid by its members, and it is governed by an elected President (currently Chief Charle Taku) and Executive Council, with eight elected standing committees responsible for specific issues and activities.