testimony given by such witnesses.” 106 The ICC’s RPE embellish on the duties that the VWU has
with respect to children. Of particular note, Rule 17(3) states:
In performing its functions, the Unit shall give due regard to the particular needs
of children, elderly persons and persons with disabilities. In order to facilitate the
participation and protection of children as witnesses, the Unit may assign, as
appropriate, and with the agreement of the parents or the legal guardian, a child-
support person to assist a child through all stages of the proceedings. 107
The Rules further provide that, “the [VWU] may include, as appropriate, persons with expertise,
inter alia, in the following areas: . . . (f) Children, in particular traumatized children; [and] . . . ( i)
Social work and counsel[ing] . . . .” 108
An additional protection that may apply to child victims, although not especially crafted
for them, is the ability to participate as anonymous victims. Anonymous participation may look
different at the pre-trial109 and trial stages. 110 With regards to the trial phase, in Prosecutor v.
Lubanga Dyilo, Trial Chamber I described how, in certain circumstances, victims may remain
anonymous. The decision regarding anonymity will consider the risks that may be posed to
individuals who testify, particularly when there is an ongoing conflict, as well as “the precise
circumstances and the potential prejudice to the parties and other participants.”111 However, Trial
Chamber II in Prosecutor v. Katanga & Ngudjolo Chui, stated that the ICC would “not
authori[z]e testimony from any victims who wish to remain anonymous to the Defen[s]e” but at
the same time refused to “rule out the possibility of anonymous victims participating in the
As the above measures demonstrate, the ICC has attempted to balance the right of
children to be heard in judicial proceedings with the duty to provide protections to child victims
and witnesses, while at the same time assuring that the accused is provided a fair trial. In
particular, the ICC seeks to prevent retraumatization and physical injury by allowing special
protective measures, such as in camera interviews, to be used and by having individuals
employed that are trained to deal with issues involving violence against children.
106 Rome Statute, supra note 59, at art. 43(6). “The [VWU] shall include staff with expertise in trauma, including trauma related to
crimes of sexual violence.” Id.; see also Van de Voorde & Barberet, supra note 75, at 45.
107 ICC Rules of Procedure and Evidence, supra note 63, at R. 17(3). In addition, the Rules require that the VWU be consulted when
special measures are being considered to protect child victims or witnesses. Id. at R. 88(1). Further, when the Chamber is making its
final determination on what special measures should be adopted, it is to “seek . . . the consent of the person in respect of whom the
special measure is sought prior to ordering that measure,” whenever it is possible to do so. Id. This requirement that the victim or
witness assents to the measure, if it is in the person’s capacity to do so, also empowers child victims and witnesses by providing them
with a better opportunity to determine the manner in which they are heard.
108 Id. at R. 19(f), ( i).
109 See, e.g., Office of the Prosecutor, Policy Paper on Victims’ Participation, INT’L CRIM. CT, 18 (Apr. 12, 2010), http://www.icc-
cpi.int/iccdocs/asp_docs/RC2010/RC-ST-V-M.1-ENG.pdf (“Chambers have accepted anonymous participation of victims at the pre-trial stage but they limited their procedural rights in the absence of exceptional circumstances to: ( i) access to the public documents
only; and ( ii) presence at the public hearings only. In particular, it has been held that anonymous victims are not permitted to add any
point of fact or any evidence, nor question the witnesses according to the procedure set out in rule 91(3).”).
111 Prosecutor v. Lubanga Dyilo, Case No. ICC-01/04-01/06, Decision on Victims’ Participation, ¶¶ 130–31 (Jan. 18, 2008),
112 Prosecutor v. Katanga & Ngudjolo Chui, Case No. ICC-01/04-01/07, Decision on the Modalities of Victim Participation at Trial, ¶¶
92–93 (Jan. 22, 2010), http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/doc/doc831030.pdf.