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8 - The role and status of victims in international criminal procedure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2011

Gideon Boas
Affiliation:
Monash University, Victoria
James L. Bischoff
Affiliation:
U.S. Department of State
Natalie L. Reid
Affiliation:
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York
B. Don Taylor III
Affiliation:
ICTY, The Hague, The Netherlands
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Summary

Although justice for the victims of mass atrocity – generally cast as retribution for the offender – has long been one of the central themes justifying international criminal trials, victims have not, until relatively recently, played a central role. Often characterised as a direct result of the domination of the adversarial approach at the ICTY, ICTR, and SCSL, victims before those courts are essentially treated as witnesses. Their direct participation in the proceedings is strictly limited to giving evidence. Their input at other stages of the process is formally non-existent, their right to reparations is limited, and their practical influence negligible.

The Rome Statute transformed the role and status of victims in international criminal procedure. As a result, victims in proceedings before the ICC enjoy a panoply of participatory rights. Although their status at various stages of the proceedings falls just short of that of the parties, their direct participation is guaranteed. Their rights to orders for reparation are greatly expanded, as is at least the possibility of collecting such reparations. Their influence on the Court's first cases has already been important, and their role in the work of the ICC promises to be considerable.

While this seminal development in international criminal procedure has been lauded by many, several constituencies remain suspicious or conflicted. The Prosecutors are understandably wary of any perceived encroachment on their independence in deciding what cases to charge, or interference with their control of the case at trial.

Type
Chapter
Information
International Criminal Law Practitioner Library
International Criminal Procedure
, pp. 303 - 334
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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References

Drumbl, Mark A., Atrocity, Punishment, and International Law (2007), p. 86
Schabas, William A., An Introduction to the International Criminal Court (3rd edn 2007), pp. 323–324CrossRef
Zappalà, Salvatore, Human Rights in International Criminal Proceedings (2003), p. 219CrossRef
Roach, Kent, ‘Canada’, in Craig M. Bradley (ed.), Criminal Procedure: A Worldwide Study (2nd edn 2007), p. 86
Feldman, David J., ‘England and Wales’, in Bradley, supra, p. 191
Stahn, Carsten, Héctor Olásolo, and Kate Gibson, ‘Participation of Victims in Pre-Trial Proceedings of the ICC’, (2006) 4 Journal of International Criminal Justice219, 220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jorda, Claude and Hemptinne, Jérôme, ‘The Status and Role of the Victim’, in Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, and John R.W.D. Jones (eds.), The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: A Commentary, Vol. II (2002), p. 1404Google Scholar
Zahar, Alexander and Sluiter, Göran, International Criminal Law: A Critical Introduction (2008), p. 74
McGonigle, Brianne N., ‘Bridging the Divides in International Criminal Proceedings: An Examination into the Victim Participation Endeavor of the International Criminal Court’, (2009) 21 Florida Journal of International Law93, 125Google Scholar
Keller, Linda M., ‘Seeking Justice at the International Criminal Court: Victim's Reparations’, (2007) 29 Thomas Jefferson Law Review189, 189Google Scholar

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