This session organised by ICC and ICC Trust Fund for Victims with experts from Tilburg University aimed to engage the audience to discuss how victims that can not be reached by digital means, can access justice and how atrocity crimes can be prevented.
In the digital era, it is assumed that anyone can be reached. However, in many instances, victims of international crimes can not be reached and they can not reach out to the institutions that provide mechanisms for the protection of victims and prosecution of grave international crimes. Perpetrators of international crime may isolate the victims and prevent persecution. This also prevents victims from receiving assistance. It stops justice and prevention of atrocity crimes.
This session highlighted the digital isolation of victims in Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Drawing on the expertise of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and of the International Criminal Court and the ICC Trust Fund for Victims the session discussed how victims are reached, justice is promoted and the prevention of such crimes is advanced.
Speakers delved into the idea of communication ‘black holes’ whereby people are effectively out of reach for a variety of reasons.
They highlighted the impossibility of seeking justice and reparations when victims cannot be reached. Victims can be particularly hard to contact due to their lack of ownership of a mobile phone and their frequent movement.
Speakers also discussed the positives and negatives of communication technology. Though it can enable contact and ease isolation, conversely, digital media has been weaponised in some instances.