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.
Representations of victims pursuant to article 15(3) of the Rome Statute – Afghanistan
As per the ICC's legal framework, victims have a right to send communications to the Pre-Trial Chamber when the Prosecutor has requested the latter to open an investigation
proprio motu pursuant to article 15(3) of the Rome Statute. Victims of alleged crimes committed in the relevant situation have the right to submit "representations", i.e. to provide their views, concerns and expectations, to the ICC Judges that are considering the Prosecutor's request. The Victims Participation and Reparations Section ("VPRS") of the ICC Registry facilitates this process.
On 20 November 2017, the Prosecutor of the ICC
requested authorisation from Pre-Trial Chamber III to initiate an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to the armed conflict in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 1 May 2003, as well as regarding similar crimes that have a nexus to the armed conflict in Afghanistan and are sufficiently linked to the Situation and were committed on the territory of other States Parties to the Rome Statute since 1 July 2002 ("Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan"). The Prosecutor issued a Public Notice
on the same date.
Please find relevant representation forms for victims and victim groups, as well as guidelines on how to fill in these forms and other important information
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.
An example Application Form for Victim's Participation can be found
This form may not be the one in use in some proceedings. 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 Karim A.A. Khan QC) and Executive Council, with eight elected standing committees responsible for specific issues and activities.