MacArthur has announced three grants totaling more than $1.2 million for efforts to help prepare victims of human rights abuses to participate in cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to educate the international community about the Court.
“The International Criminal Court is the most important new international institution since the founding of the United Nations,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “The cases it tries will set important precedents for new jurisprudence that could deter future human rights violations. The success of these first cases is critical to building a strong international system of justice based on the rule of law. MacArthur is providing support for efforts now underway to gather evidence and prepare for the Court’s first cases in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Darfur, Sudan.”
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), based in Paris, received a grant of $465,000 over three years to facilitate victims’ participation in the first cases at the ICC and to train victims’ groups and other nongovernmental organizations on how to use the Court to seek justice and reparations. FIDH will carry out yearly training sessions at the Court’s headquarters in the Hague for NGOs from countries that have ratified the Rome Treaty and will also provide legal and material assistance to victims’ groups from countries under ICC investigation to enable victim participation before the Court. FIDH, established in 1922, is a network of 141 national human rights organizations in more than 100 countries and is designed to promote respect for rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its goal is to effect improvements in the protection of victims, the prevention of human rights abuse, and the prosecution of those responsible.
The London-based International Bar Association (IBA) received a grant of $530,000 over two years to monitor, evaluate and report on the trials carried out by the ICC. Legal experts will attend trials and draft bi-monthly public reports and provide feedback to the Court about its performance. The IBA will also write news articles and op-eds and hold seminars and other educational programs as part of its efforts to keep the international community informed about the Court. The IBA is made up of national bar associations, law societies and individuals from 192 countries. It participates in global decision-making and policy on matters of international law, human rights, and the rule of law.
Belgium-based Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) received a grant of $250,000 over two years to provide legal assistance to victims of human rights violations seeking to testify before the ICC in its Congo case. ASF will provide technical and logistical assistance and strategic legal advice to victims and their Congolese lawyers as they prepare to present their cases, offer free legal services to Congolese nongovernmental organizations working with victims, and serve as a liaison between Congolese lawyers and the ICC during and after case proceedings. ASF is an international nongovernmental organization that provides legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses and works to strengthen criminal justice systems in countries affect by war crimes and large-scale human rights violations.