"The World would start turning again": identifying and measuring victims' restorative justice needs at the International Criminal Court.

Authors: Smith, E.C.

Conference: Media School


The integration of victim participation into the Rome Statute introduces a restorative function into the practices and procedures of the International Criminal Court alongside its more traditional, retributive mandate, engendering an obligation on the Court to provide restorative justice, or at least, aspects of it, to participating victims. Restorative justice, however, is under-developed in international criminal law in both theory and practice. Moreover, the Court itself has failed to indicate what it means by restorative justice, or what restorative justice would encompass in practice for participating victims. The thesis demonstrates instead that the restorative mandate is in danger of being either subsumed by the retributive function or usurped by a purely procedural justice model.

Through an exploration of what restorative justice for participating victims would comprise, this thesis addresses the disconnect between the intentions of the drafters of the Rome Statute and the realisation of restorative justice for victims in practice. Through an interdisciplinary approach, using psychological literature and theory, the thesis identifies, examines and argues for an appropriate overarching goal for restorative action at the ICC: the achievement of a sense of justice in participating victims. This goal is developed and disaggregated into its constituent parts with a view to rendering the concept of restorative justice tangible, applicable and operational within the practices and procedures of the Court. The thesis thereby provides a contribution to theory and practice.

The thesis then considers how the Court’s progress in the pursuit of its restorative mandate can be evaluated. In the absence of any existing assessment instrument, the thesis develops and proposes the detailed framework of a psycho-legal assessment tool for the monitoring and evaluation of the Court’s pursuit of restorative justice for participating victims, thereby providing a further contribution to practice.


Source: Manual

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