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13 March 2006 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first international tribunal to allow victims to actively participate. The trial chamber's January 17 ruling allows six victims to get involved at a very early stage of the proceedings - during the investigations that the ICC is conducting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On January 23, the prosecutor filed an application for leave to appeal this decision he strongly opposes. From his point of view, "the broad scope of victim participation envisioned creates a serious imbalance between victims and any future accused persons", and admitting them at the investigation stage could lead the chamber to "premature and inappropriate factual conclusions".

Jérôme de Hemptinne