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2012 | Conor McCarthy: 'Victim Redress and International Criminal Justice: Competing Paradigms, or Compatible Forms of Justice?

in: Journal of  Int Criminal Justice (2012) 10(2): 351-372

A growing number of international criminal justice institutions, most notably the International Criminal Court, have been equipped with a regime of victim redress. In the coming years, alongside international legal regimes based on principles of state responsibility, international criminal law may perhaps provide a significant legal framework through which the harm suffered by victims of atrocities can be redressed. However, incorporating a regime for dealing with questions of victim redress within the framework of an international criminal justice institution is not, it is argued, an obvious extension of ‘international criminal justice’, the traditional focus of which has been the prosecution and punishment of individuals and not addressing the consequences of their conduct. Instead, the consequences of conflict have traditionally been dealt with at the interstate level through lump sum settlements, claims processes such as the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission or, on occasion, under the auspices of international human rights mechanisms, all based on principles of state rather than individual responsibility. But does the creation of a regime of victim redress in the context of international criminal law have a contribution to make to the administration of criminal justice at the international level? With this question in mind, the article critically examines whether and how the incorporation of a regime of victim redress within the framework of an international criminal justice institution may be justified in principled terms. First published online March 29, 2012 doi:10.1093/jicj/mqs014