Messages from the Expressive Nature of icc Reparations: Complex-victims in Complex Contexts and the Trust Fund for Victims

In: International Criminal Law Review
Kirsten J. Fisher Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada,

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There are great hopes for the International Criminal Court’s (icc’s) reparative aspirations, which are regarded as an answer to demands for more victim-centric approaches to the pursuit of justice for atrocity crimes. Reparations are recognised as a right of victims, and it seems appropriate that the icc should attempt to combine reparations with its retributive approach to addressing grave human right abuses. However, the potential negative communicative value of icc reparations must not be overlooked. For one, icc reparations have the potential to relieve some suffering but also the potential to exacerbate tensions and compound the challenges of reintegration and acceptance of complex-victims because of their expressive nature. This article argues that it is precisely because of the unique nature of the Court as retributive, as a voice of international condemnation, and as an intervener in complex contexts that the expressive value of its reparations may make it ill-suited to award reparations tied to convictions.

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