FIDH action supporting the participation of victims from DRC before the International Criminal Court

Presentation to NGOs Forum of FIDH’s actions supporting the participation of victims from DRC before the International Criminal Court

The presentation describes the work FIDH and its Legal Action Group (GAJ: network of magistrates, lawyers and legal experts), in support of its member organisations in DRC (ASADHO, Groupe Lotus and Ligue des Électeurs), have been doing since 2004 with the objective of allowing victims of the most serious crimes committed in DRC since 1 July 2002 to assert their right to justice by participating in proceedings before the ICC, following the referral by the Congolese State to the Prosecutor of the ICC of the situation in DRC on 19 April 2004.

Based on the fact that numerous obstacles concerning protection and legal issues could prevent victims from acting by themselves before the ICC, the presentation emphasizes the practical and legal initiatives undertaken by FIDH to support and go along with the participation of Congolese victims before the ICC: launching investigative missions, collecting evidence, nominating legal representatives - members of the GAJ -, submitting applications for participation in the DRC situation proceedings.

The system elaborated by FIDH has come to be efficient and contributed to the ICC case law in favor of victims. The Pre-Trial Chamber I 17 January 2006 historic decision has ruled that the 6 persons, supported by FIDH and having applied for participation, were victims of crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Moreover, the judges granted these 6 victims the right to express their views and concerns before the ICC from the investigation stage, opened by the Prosecutor in DRC, and detailed the modalities of such participation in the ICC proceedings.

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