ICC Premanent Premises, The Hague. Photo: by ICL Media Review (rights reserved).
ICC Premanent Premises, The Hague. Photo: by ICL Media Review (rights reserved).

Gbagbo TC establishes procedure for participation resumption of deceased victims by ‘closely-related individuals’: On 11 October, Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued a “Decision on the resumption of action applications” of deceased victims in the case of The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé. Earlier this year, on 20 July, the Legal Representatives for Victims (LRV) had submitted a request for the resumption of action of deceased victims, which asked for the family members of six deceased victims to be allowed to participate in the trial and, more generally, for the Chamber to adopt a procedure for similar cases in the future. In support of its request, the LRV referred to the repeated case law of the Court in which similar requests had been granted, citing inter alia the Bemba and Ntaganda cases. Gbagbo’s Defence had objected to the request mainly on the grounds that it came in at too late of a stage, as some of the victims had passed away before pre-trial confirmation, and that the possibility to present views and concerns is not a right to be inherited. It also contested that, if succession of participation were to be granted, it should be done in accordance with Ivorian civil law, and that no procedure on the matter should be adopted. The Chamber underscored the Court’s practice on the matter, in particular that relatives or closely connected individuals have been allowed to continue the action initiated by deceased victims in the past. The Chamber thus authorised the applications of the family members of the six victims listed in the LRV’s request, and established a detailed and time-framed procedure for future resumption of action applications. According to the procedure, when a participating victim dies, the LRV is to inform the Victims Participation and Reparation Section (VPRS) which will amend the consolidated list of participated victims and file an updated version of it to the Chamber at least twice a year until the end of the proceedings. The VPRS will also be the one receiving applications for resumption of action and will be in charge of the transmitting them to the Chamber and the parties with necessary redactions allowed, and any specific objection should be filed within 14 days of the notification of the relevant application. The Chamber will assess the contested application in the case of any objection raised, and grant the resumption of action in the case of no objection. (ICC TC Decision)