MacArthur announced five grants totaling more than $3.8 million for efforts to more fully involve the victims and witnesses in cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

“Giving the victims and witnesses a more prominent role in the proceedings of the ICC will improve the quality of justice for those who might live far away from the Court itself or have little experience with the rule of law,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “Greater involvement of the victims will help create a bridge between the Court and the communities it is designed to serve.”

MacArthur was an early supporter of civil society groups that advocated for the ICC and currently funds efforts to monitor Court procedures and promote information and discussion about the Court as it prepares for its first cases in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan.  The goal is to ensure fair and effective trials, including the full participation of victims and witnesses in ICC proceedings.  This support is part of the Foundation’s grantmaking to strengthen the international system of justice and establish human rights norms based on the rule of law. 

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) is receiving a grant of $2 million over three years for activities to assist domestic justice systems in the aftermath of massive human rights crimes.  Funds will also be used for special projects in the three countries where the ICC has launched investigations.  In Uganda, the ICTJ will provide outreach to victims and assist the National Human Rights Commission in the organization of a truth and reconciliation commission.  In the Congo, ICTJ will assist with domestic prosecutions, especially military courts. And, in Sudan, in collaboration with the Human Rights Center at the University of California, the ICTJ will conduct a survey of victims.

The Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley is receiving a grant of $740,000 over three years to conduct surveys of victims in Uganda, the Congo, and Darfur to determine their needs and better gauge their understanding of the ICC.  Data will be used to develop policies and programs that respond to the needs of victims and their communities and to help the ICC and other relevant institutions better deliver justice.  The Center will also use its grant to work with Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Transitional Justice to strengthen evidence-based research at the two organizations and within the International Criminal Court.

A grant of $600,000 over three years is awarded to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting to address gaps in local information and reporting on the ICC and other transitional justice mechanisms in Uganda, the Congo, and Sudan.  The Institute will pursue a series of activities to strengthen the capacity of local print and broadcast journalists to cover cases brought by the ICC and national courts.

REDRESS is receiving a grant of $417,000 over three years to educate victims of atrocities in Uganda, the Congo, and Darfur and their attorneys about rights accorded them by the ICC.  REDRESS will use funds to coordinate efforts to develop policies and programs that address the needs of victims and their communities and will provide analysis and educate staff at the ICC on victims’ issues.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is receiving a special grant of $50,000 for a conference to identify measures to help the International Court of Justice improve its efficiency and the pace of its deliberations on human rights-related cases.  The ICJ often deals with similar substantive issues as the ICC, but looks to the responsibility of states rather than that of individuals.  In recent years, its case load has increased as many more states use it to resolve disputes.   

Human Rights & International Justice, Africa, Human Rights, Justice