Realising Justice for victims before the International Criminal Court

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Abstract

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been celebrated for its innovative victim provisions, which enable victims to participate in proceedings, avail of protection measures and assistance, and to claim reparations. The impetus for incorporating victim provisions within the ICC, came from victims’ dissatisfaction with the ad hoc tribunals in providing them with more meaningful and tangible justice.1 The International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY/R) only included victim protection measures, with no provisions for victims to participate in proceedings nor to claim reparations at them. Developments in domestic and international law, in particular human rights such as the 1985 UN Declaration on Justice for Victims and the UN Guidelines on Remedy and Reparations, and transitional justice mechanisms, such as truth commissions and reparations bodies, have helped to expand the notion of justice for international crimes to be more attuned to victims as key stakeholders in dealing with such crimes.

With the first convictions secured at the ICC and the victim participation and reparation regime taking form, it is worth evaluating the extent to which these innovative provisions have translated into justice for victims. The first part of this paper outlines what justice for victims of international crimes entails, drawing from victimology and human rights. The second section surveys the extent to which the ICC has incorporated justice for victims, in procedural and substantive terms, before concluding in looking beyond the Court to how state parties can complement the ICC in achieving justice for victims. This paper argues that while much progress has been made to institutionalise justice for victims within the Court, there is much more progress needed to evolve and develop justice for victims within the ICC to avoid dissatisfaction of past tribunals.
Original languageEnglish
TypeCommentatory
Media of outputWebsite
PublisherInternational Crimes Database
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • International Criminal Court
  • Victims
  • Complementarity

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