The victim participation regime at the International Criminal Court (ICC or the Court) has been one of the major achievements of the international criminal justice system. International crimes have been prosecuted at the ICC since the Court started operating in 2003. A number of trials have since been completed and decisions and orders relevant for victims have been rendered by the ICC – alongside the filing of related submissions. This allows for an assessment of how the victim participation regime has been implemented in practice.
This thesis provide a comparison between the objectives envisioned by the drafters of the victim participation regime at the ICC and the results achieved in practice, in order to analytically identify how the role of victims at the ICC has changed, and recommend a way forward for the role of victims in years to come respecting both the interests of victims themselves and the rights of the accused. Moreover, it argues that the jurisprudence of the ICC has changed the role of victims before the Court. In analyzing the way forward, this thesis identifies three possible ways for the victim participation regime at the ICC to evolve: i) victim participation as the drafters of the Rome Statute envisioned it; ii) an expanded victim participation regime as confirmed by the jurisprudence of the ICC; or iii) victim participation as partie civile. Finally, this thesis argues that the best way forward for the victim participation regime at the ICC is to continue with the enhanced victim participation regime confirmed by the jurisprudence of the Court. However, in doing so the modalities of participation has to be revised to establish a clear and comprehensive victim participation regime taking into account the interests of victims themselves and the rights of the accused.