The Victims' Rights Working Group (VRWG) is a network of over 300 national and international civil society groups and experts created in 1997 under the auspices of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC). It was created by a number of international NGOs and experts but over the years has evolved to include NGOs from a wide array of countries including those countries most affected by the International Criminal Court (ICC), such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Sudan and Uganda. The VRWG is facilitated by REDRESS.
The VRWG works to ensure that victims’ rights are effectively protected and respected, and that their needs and concerns are met throughout the ICC's judicial process.
The VRWG played an historic role in ensuring that key provisions for victims were incorporated into the Rome Statute. Members’ expertise and work with governments in the run up to the Rome Conference in 1998 led to strong measures respecting victims' dignity, ensuring their support, protection, and assistance, and allowing their ability to participate in proceedings, be legally represented and to claim reparation.
The VRWG and its constituent members were represented at the Preparatory Committee Sessions prior to the Rome Conference, at the 1998 Rome Conference itself and subsequent Preparatory Commission meetings, during which the Court’s Rules and Regulations were drafted. Member organisations meet regularly with the Court at its bi-annual ICC-NGO Roundtable meetings and attend the Assembly of States Parties Sessions every year.
The VRWG’s current work seeks to ensure that these provisions are effectively implemented, making justice for victims a possibility for the first time. Particular attention is paid to ensuring that re-victimization is prevented and that the Court’s policies are reflective of victims views, concerns and needs.
The VRWG and its members continue to issue numerous position and background papers on issues as they arise; see VRWG Documents.
VRWG members hold strategy meeting in NY in the margin of the 10th ASP session, 2011.