Victims of sexual violence in the DRC

20 years of the Rome Statute: It’s time to realise victims’ rights

Victims have waited long enough for the International Criminal Court to work out procedures, and it must now act to realise victims’ rights under the Rome Statute, said Lorraine Smith Van Lin, REDRESS Legal Adviser, today during a high-level event to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court at the Peace Palace.

In her keynote speech, Van Lin highlighted the landmark rights afforded to victims with the advent of the Rome Statute, including their right to participate in proceedings and to share their views and concerns, and to obtain reparations for the harms suffered.

Van Lin noted that the growth in the number of victims who have applied to participate in proceedings (more than 25,000) points to the unwavering belief by victims that the ICC can actually make a difference in their situation.

However, significant challenges remain. One of the main ones is finding the middle ground between victims’ expectations and the limited resources of the Court to meet those expectations.

Van Lin highlighted several areas that will continue to require detailed consideration, including:

  • ensuring  that victims participation is meaningful and effective.
  • ensuring sustained outreach to and engagement with victims and victim communities.
  • ensuring prompt, appropriate and adequate reparations.

Read the full speech here

Photo ©️ Aubrey Graham/UN/OCHA.