Press Release: 10 December 2020


Trust Fund for Victims Launches a Fellowship Programme in Honour of the

Late Board Chair Dr. Felipe Michelini



Photo: Dr. Felipe Michelini, Late Chair of the Board of Directors (2018-2020) of the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court ©Magdalena Gutiérrez Rodríguez


Today, on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2020, the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (the ICC) took the opportunity to hold an event commemorating its former esteemed Chair Dr. Felipe Michelini (1961-2020) and to unveil the new Fellowship it has established in his memory.


The creation of the voluntarily funded programme, in the name of Dr. Michelini, is to support students, graduates, talented professionals across various fields. This fellowship, which is part of the ICC Internship and Visiting Professional programme, aims to provide the experience of learning and conducting research to contribute to the concrete realisation of victims’ rights as envisaged in the Rome Statute.


Speaking at the event, which was attended by Dr. Michelini’s family, the TFV Board of Directors and colleagues and friends from national and international political and human rights spheres, TFV Board Chair Mama Koité Doumbia, said “We remain deeply saddened by Felipe’s passing. Looking back at his tireless work and campaigning, his impact and important legacy for the individuals and institutions he engaged with, we continue to miss his commitment and passion to delivering true justice to victims and survivors. We hope, however that through this Fellowship others can be inspired by his life and continue to advocate for victims of the worst crimes. We also call upon States Parties to follow the example of Felipe’s devotion to reparative justice for victims by committing their political, financial and moral support to the TFV and its mission.”


TFV Executive Director Pieter de Baan spoke saying “Felipe Michelini left an indelible imprint on those who have been part of his life, personally and professionally. Nobody was untouched by his personal warmth, his professional drive as a human rights defender, his sense of justice and of history. This initiative seeks to reflect Felipe’s passion for learning and action – and to enable young people with a passion for human rights and victims’  justice to pursue their dream even if they do not have their own resources. Felipe’s passing put a sudden end to our intensive and always respectful interaction, which I am missing to this day. We strive to continue to perform, and to improve, in his spirit.“


In addition to the Fellowship Programme, a meeting room in the building of the International Criminal Court in The Hague has been dedicated to Dr Michelini. The inauguration of the meeting room will take place next year when for COVID-19 restriction measures are lifted. The official Book of Condolences will shortly be published online.


More information and detail about the Fellowship Programme will be published shortly. For more information about the Trust Fund for Victims, please contact: or visit:



Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others and Dr Michelini dedicated a large part of his life to doing just this. It is fitting, therefore that the TFV chose this Day to remember him and his work along, with the  participation of his family and colleagues.