REDRESS' complementarity related activities in situation countries over the past 18 months included:
A: Strengthening institutions
REDRESS works with local courts and other localised transitional justice frameworks, government officials, policy makers and others at the domestic level to ensure that the mechanisms that are in the process of being developed and implemented to respond to mass atrocity crimes are victim-centred, responsive to victims' rights and needs, and include notions of participatory justice. This aspect focuses on sharing expertise, providing concrete input on the design and operation of justice mechanisms so that these bodies are inclusive and have the potential to serve as safe, cathartic and empowering spaces for victims while maintaining the highest standards of independence and impartiality.
a) In Central African Republic, REDRESS is currently advocating for the comprehensive inclusion of victims' rights in the Rules of Procedure of the the Special Criminal Court and providing training and awareness raising with civil society and lawyers on victims' rights.
b) In Kenya, REDRESS works with the International Crimes Division within the High Court of Kenya on victims' rights and with civil society on the implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission's (TJRC) recommendations.
c) In Uganda, REDRESS provided an analysis of the Rules of Procedure of the International Crimes Division (ICD) which recognise a range of rights for victims. To support the ICD in its application of these rules, REDRESS made suggestions on how to interpret relevant provisions in line with international standards on victims' rights.
d) In Ivory Coast, REDRESS provided expert input in the design of the domestic reparation policy.
e) REDRESS held an expert meeting in September 2015 to develop a network of African practitioners working on "Accountability and Justice for Serious International Crimes in Africa".
B: Empowering victims
REDRESS works with victims, their grassroots supporters, lawyers and others working with victims iin a range of countries worldwide in order to ensure that victims have full information about future and ongoing justice processes and thereby are in the best position to decide whether and how to engage with those processes. This is done through training, outreach, information-sharing and awareness raising; enable victims to engage in policy dialogues about local justice developments that concern them and helping to open up the space for policy dialogue to take place and for victims' perspectives to be heard. In this respect, we undertake field-based work to invigorate victims groups and networks and support them to engage in national justice processes, both formal and informal, through advocacy. We also encourage cross-fertilisation and learning between countries by sharing examples of best practice approaches from other countries in order to advance domestic justice efforts and to overcome procedural and related challenges and bringing actors from other relevant countries to share experiences.
a) REDRESS delivered workshops in Ivory Coast to discuss the issue of justice and reparation for victims and the latest international and domestic developments. We facilitated the identification of common advocacy points for local victims' group to take forward in their advocacy.
b) REDRESS organised a series of workshops in Kenya to enable victims' group to input in relation to key developments at the domestic level relating to justice for post-election violence.
c) REDRESS facilitated the creation of a network of victims' organisations in Uganda and built their capacity to engage and provide input as the ICD was being established and its rules developed in order to ensure victims' rights and voices were concerned and reflected. REDRESS is currently monitoring the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo before the ICD in Uganda.
C. Strategic litigation:
REDRESS also assists victims and their representatives in accessing a form of redress for mass crime by representing them in cases before domestic, regional and international bodies. We engage with victims, civil society groups and lawyers in target countries in order to test new frameworks and determine key challenges impeding access to justice for mass atrocity crimes in the counties concerned by using strategic approaches to litigation to address those challenges (both before national and regional courts and related bodies).
a) REDRESS held a workshop in August 2015 on strategic advocacy and litigation at regional and international levels. The workshop brought together human rights defenders from the East and Horn of Africa, including Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, DRC and sought to strengthen their capacity to better pursue legal challenges and advocate on behalf of human rights defenders at risk of or having suffered serious violations of human rights.
b) REDRESS is also assisting groups in a number of ICC situation countries to bring claim in relation to ICC crimes before domestic jurisdictions as well as regional human rights mechanisms
D. Prosecution of sexual violence in conflict:
REDRESS builds capacities of local partners in Africa and Asia through trainings and continuous mentoring to support their efforts in documenting sexual violence in conflict for on-going or potential future prosecutions.
a) In Uganda, REDRESS is supporting counsels for victims at the ICD to promote and draft an amendment to the indictment to include sexual violence charges in the current case at trial. At the same time, REDRESS is supporting the collection of information on sexual violence in conflict.
b) REDRESS trained and continues to train local civil society partners on the investigation and documentation of sexual violence in conflict, including in DRC and in Kenya, in order to improve their capacities to collect information for potential prosecutions.
Expert conference on participation of victims of international crimes in national criminal justice systems : http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/conference-report17-nov-2015.pdf
Uganda - Ugandan International Crimes Division (ICD) Rules 2016 - Analysis on Victim Participation Framework : http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/1608REDRESS_ICD%20Rules%20Analysis.pdf
Kenyan - Training on Victims' Rights and Participation in Criminal Proceedings : http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/1606Kenya%20Prosecutor%20Training.pdf
Concept Note for an Expert Meeting on Accountability and Justice for Serious International Crimes in Africa: towards the creation of a practitioners' network
Central African Republic: Rapport de l'aterlier sur la Cour Pénale Spéciale en RCA http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/160713ASF_REDRESS%20Atelier_CPS_Rapport.pdf
_Jurgen Schurr, Head of Law and Policy,
Laan van Meerdervoort 70, 2517 AN, Den Haag, The Netherlands,