to the contrary in respect of that person.” 133 Many of these proposed measures not only seem like
prudent steps to take in the name of child participation and protection, but they also align nicely
with the measures that the Committee on the Rights of the Child suggested should be taken in
General Comment No. 12 in order to fulfill the child’s right to be heard. 134
C. Reporting Back
Part of a child’s right to participation includes not only having their voices heard, but also
having what they said thoughtfully considered during the decision-making process. 135 As a result,
it is important that children are made aware of both how their testimony was taken into account as
well as the overall outcome of the case.
Because ICC trials take place in The Hague, 136 victims and witnesses may not be aware
of what transpires in a trial. For this reason, it is important that the ICC make sure it effectively
communicates the results of cases, the rationale for its holdings, and the extent to which child
testimony helped to shape the overall outcome. In its efforts to effectively communicate the
outcomes of cases to children, a best practice may include following the example set by the TRC
in Sierra Leone, which worked with child protection agencies and children to produce a child-friendly version of the TRC’s report. 137 The ICC could also work with child advocates and
children to produce a child-friendly documents that reflect how the ICC uses child testimony and
explain the decisions that it makes.
The CRC establishes principles regarding the right of children to participate in judicial
and administrative proceedings that are addressing matters that affect them. However, in granting
this right, the CRC and the Committee on the Rights of the Child have noted that certain
precautionary measures must be employed in order to prevent unnecessary harm to a child—harm
that may be mental or physical in nature. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has provided
guidance through General Comment No. 12 on what measures may be taken to help actualize the
principles regarding participation and protection that are enshrined in the CRC and, therefore,
advance the best interests of the child. 138
The ICC has opened its doors to children through the crimes defined as being within its
jurisdiction as well as its definition of who it considers to be a “victim.” 139 These actions make it
all the more apparent that the ICC must make serious efforts to not only provide children with a
voice but also protect them from harm. The ICC has largely met this challenge and sought to
uphold CRC principles related to participation and protection. It not only provides children with
the right to participate in proceedings that they did not themselves initiate, 140 but the ICC also has
133 Id. at art. 35(1)(b), (d), (e), (f). The idea of having an adult of the child’s choice accompanying the child in the proceedings is not a
new idea. In fact, it has been noted that “the presence of a support person increases some children’s capacity to testify, resulting in
more consistent and credible testimony. [T]he ‘presence of a parent/loved one [has been] associated with children answering more
questions during direct examination.’” Beresford, supra note 99, at 744–45 (referencing findings from Gail S. Goodman et al.,
Testifying in Criminal Court: Emotional Effects on Child Sexual Assault Victims, 57 MONOGRAPHS SOC’Y FOR RES. CHILD DEV. 121
134 For a discussion of these measures, see supra Part II.A, B.
135 See supra note 31 and accompanying text.
136 While there is an option under Article 3(3) of the Rome Statute for the ICC to sit in locations other than The Hague, at this point,
trials have only taken place in The Hague.
137 UNICEF INNOCENTI RESEARCH CTR. & INT’L CTR. FOR TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE, CHILDREN AND TRUTH COMMISSIONS 11 (2010),
available at http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/truth_commissions_eng.pdf.
138 See generally Gen. Cmt. No. 12, supra note 22.
139 See supra Part III.A.