Coherence in International Criminal Justice: A Victimological Perspective

In: International Criminal Law Review
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  • 1 International Victimology Institute Tilburg, Tilburg University, Netherlands
  • | 2 Tilburg University, International Victimology Institute Tilburg, Tilburg University, Netherlands
  • | 3 Tilburg University, Netherlands

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This article develops a victimological perspective on international criminal justice, based on a review of the main victimological characteristics of international crimes: the complicity of government agencies, the large numbers of victims involved and the peculiar position of victims of international crimes, who at the time of the commission of the crimes are viewed as perpetrators and/or beyond the moral sphere, rather than as victims. Key elements of the framework concern the external coherence of the criminal justice reaction – the interlinking of criminal justice with other reparative efforts – as well as its internal coherence – the extent to which the procedures of international criminal justice are aligned with what it realistically can and should achieve. This latter aspect of coherence is used in an examination of victims’ rights in international criminal justice procedures.

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    Fletcher and Weinstein, supra note 42.

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    Fletcher and Weinstein, supra note 42, p. 581, propose “an ecological model of social reconstruction that considers a spectrum of interventions that includes, but is broader than, criminal trials. This approach, grounded in empirical studies of the actions of individuals in group contexts as well as some current perceptions of the contribution of criminal trials to social reconstruction, contributes to a fuller understanding of the complex processes that underlie the rebuilding of fragmented societies”.

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    Fletcher and Weinstein, supra note 43.

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     See Groenhuijsen, supra note 21.

  • 96

    As Rothe (2014), supra note 10 outlines this makes the added obstacles for victims to be recognized as such at the International Criminal Court particularly troubling. The emphasis on the veracity of victims‘ claims and the burden of proof necessary for victims to be able to participate in the process means that many applications are denied, while the process of granting victim status is a long and cumbersome one. Here establishing the truth of victims accounts seems at odds with providing a sense of justice to victimized populations.

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    Letschert and Van Boven, supra note 76.

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    Strang, supra note 128.

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    Letschert and Van Boven, supra note 76.

  • 137

    Haldemann, supra note 122; Letschert and Van Boven, supra note 76.

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