The Rights of Victims in Criminal Justice Proceedings for Serious Human Rights Violations

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The Rights of Victims in Criminal Justice Proceedings for Serious Human Rights Violations addresses a question of critical importance to policy-makers, international lawyers, academics, and affected societies throughout the world: Should victims of serious human rights violations be granted under international law the rights of access to and participation in criminal proceedings before international, hybrid and domestic tribunals?

Juan Carlos Ochoa applies a thorough analysis of international and comparative domestic law and practice to this question, taking into account a host of international human rights instruments and case law, the theory, law and practice of international and hybrid criminal tribunals, the law and practice in several domestic jurisdictions, and many theoretical and empirical studies. After first determining the current state of, and emerging trends in, international law in this area, he argues that the lack of recognition of these rights under customary international law is inadequate, because access to and participation in criminal proceedings for victims of these infringements are based on several internationally recognised human rights and principles, contribute to the expressivist objectives of these procedures, and are consistent with the principles that inform the enforcement of criminal law in democratic States. On this basis, Ochoa convincingly suggests concrete reforms.

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Biographical Note

Juan Carlos Ochoa is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Law. He is based at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

Review Quotes

“This book addresses the question of the rights of victims of serious human rights violations in a comprehensive and insightful manner, particularly victims’ access to and participation in criminal proceedings…It is a major contribution to the field, and as such, it is one of those books that should be read by anyone interested in the protection of human rights and victims’ rights.” – M. Cherif Bassiouni, Emeritus Professor of Law, DePaul University and United Nations Independent Expert on the Rights of Victims (1998-2002)

“This meticulous study on the position of victims with respect to prosecutions for serious human rights violations before international, hybrid and domestic courts maps the landscape, points to the deficiencies and indicates areas for reform. Nothing comparable exists in the literature.” – William Schabas, Professor of International Law, Middlesex University

“This monograph offers a very comprehensive review of international instruments and case-law regarding victims’ rights. It also refreshingly incorporates a normative bent…In a field often permeated with polemic and plied with pre-conception, this book is refreshingly careful, detailed, extensively researched, and prudent.” – Mark A. Drumbl, Professor of Law and Director, Transnational Law Institute, Washington and Lee University

“Juan Carlos Ochoa makes a compelling case for the rights of victims in criminal justice procedures for serious human rights violations." – Karol Nowak, Assistant Professor, Lund University

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Note on the Method of Citation
List of Abbreviations

Introduction
I. Addressing Some Critical Conceptual and Methodological Issues
II. The State of Customary International Law on This Subject
III. Why the Current State of Customary International Law on This Matter is Inadequate

Chapter I Conceptual Framework
I. The Concept of Serious Human Rights Violations
II. The Concept of Victim
III. The Legal Status of the Decisions of Human Rights Treaty Supervisory Bodies in Individual Cases

Chapter II Procedural Obligations of States in the Field of Criminal Justice When Faced with Serious Human Rights Violations
I. Features of States’ Procedural Obligations When Faced with Serious Human Rights Violations Generally
II. States’ Procedural Obligations in Situations of Mass Serious Human Rights Violations
III. General Conclusions

Chapter III The Status Under International Law of the Rights of Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures Before Domestic Courts for Victims of Serious Human Rights Violations
I. The Approach of United Nations Instruments and Monitoring Bodies
II. Case Law of Regional Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies
III. The Divide between the Common Law and the Civil Law Traditions
IV. General Conclusions

Chapter IV Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures for Victims of Serious Human Rights Violations
I. The Legal Bases and Rationales for Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures for Victims of Serious Human Rights Violations
II. Other Rationales for Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures
III. Addressing the Arguments Against Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures
IV. Implementing Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures Conducted in Situations of Isolated Serious Human Rights Violations
V. Conclusions

Chapter V Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Procedures Conducted in Situations of Mass Atrocity
I. Victims in the Proceedings before International and Hybrid Criminal Tribunals
II. Why Allow Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Proceedings Conducted in Situations of Mass Atrocity?
III. Addressing the Arguments against Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Proceedings Conducted in Situations of Mass Atrocity
IV. Implementing Victim Access to and Participation in Criminal Proceedings Conducted in Situations of Mass Atrocity
V. Conclusions

Chapter VI General Conclusions
I. The Main Findings and Submissions of This Work
II. The Implications of the Findings of this Work

Bibliography
Index

Readership

Scholars and practitioners, as well as graduate and undergraduate students in international human rights law, international and comparative criminal law, and transitional justice.

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