NVAA 2000 Text

Chapter 22 Supplement Special Topics

Section 7, International Issues in Victim Assistance

Statistical Overview

Assistance to Families of Pan Am 103 Victims

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988, over Lockerbie, Scotland, took the lives of 270 individuals from twenty-one countries, including 189 Americans. It was the worst terrorist atrocity in aviation history. Reserve funds from the Crime Victims Fund, available through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) set aside for victims of terrorism and mass violence have been drawn upon to assist families of Pan Am 103 victims. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), in partnership with the Scottish government, is working to ensure that Pan Am 103 victims' families receive information and assistance throughout the trial process. A comprehensive database at OVC contains updated information on more than 600 family members, and OVC has a full-time coordinator for the Pan Am 103 project. In coordination with the Scottish prosecutors, police, and the Scottish Court Service, OVC is providing the following services to families:

June 14, 1999, and accessible from the sixteen countries where the families are located. Scottish prosecutors, police, and court service personnel provide regular updates for the information line.

- A victim-witness coordinator in the Netherlands to provide assistance in locating lodging, arranging local transportation, and assisting with other needs.

- An on-site officer for the Scottish Court Service at Kamp van Zeist, who serves as a family liaison officer with the Court.

- A Scottish prosecutor who serves as legal liaison with the families to explain Scottish law and procedure.

Update on U.N. Initiatives to Address International Victimization

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power in November 1985. Since then this landmark document has served as the basis for victim services reform at national and local levels throughout the world. One of the projects that has resulted from this declaration is the International Victimology Web Site (IVW).

In June 1999, IVW was launched as a resource for all those interested in improving justice for victims of crime and abuse of power. A two-year pilot program, sponsored by the U.N. Center for International Crime Prevention, the Research and Documentation Center of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, and the World Society of Victimology, IVW is a database of victimology research in progress, a database for victim services and victimization prevention, a resource for promising practices in victim services, a document and publications hosting page, a link to other victimology resources on the Internet, and a victimology news page and bulletin board. The IVW mission is to facilitate the implementation of the U.N. Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power <http://www.victimology.nl/>.

In April 2000, the United Nations held the Tenth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Vienna, Austria. Member states in attendance issued a declaration that contains two paragraphs related to victims issues. In the first, member States state that they will "introduce, where appropriate, national, regional, and international action plans in support of victims of crime, such as mechanisms for mediation, and restorative justice" and "establish 2002 as a target date for member States to review their relevant practices, to develop further victim support services and awareness campaigns on the rights of victims and to consider the establishment of funds for victims, in addition to developing and implementing witness protection policies." In the second, member States "encourage the development of restorative justice policies, procedures and programmes that are respectful of the rights, needs and interests of victims, offenders, communities and all other parties" (Tenth United Nations Congress 10-17 April 2000).

Specific victim initiatives considered by member States at the Tenth Congress include the following:


An expert working group met in January 1999 to consider the feasibility of creating an international fund for victims of crime and abuse of power. The working group recommended that such a fund be established to support the following:

At the Congress, member States took note of the recommendations and tasked the Secretary General of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice with reviewing the recommendations and examining existing mechanisms at the international level to provide assistance to victims of crime and abuse of power. The Secretary General is to report his findings to the Commission at its next meeting in 2001.


Member States approved a resolution to consider the feasibility and desirability of establishing guiding principles on the use of restorative justice practices. The United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will again consider this topic in 2002.



An Ad Hoc Committee of the United Nations General Assembly established to create a protocol that promotes and facilitates cooperation among member States to prevent, investigate, and punish international trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, came up with several recommendations. According to the Ad Hoc Committee, member States should:

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2000 NVAA Text
Chapter 22.7
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