Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Róisín Mulgrew and Denis Abels
Chapter 5: Fines and forfeiture in international criminal justice
While imprisonment is undoubtedly the principal form of punishment within the international penal system a comprehensive examination of such system must consider the available supplementary sanctions of fines and forfeiture. A fine is a financial penalty of a fixed amount that must be paid by a sentenced person. Forfeiture refers to permanently depriving a sentenced person of certain proceeds, property or assets. Although fines and forfeiture are only ever likely to play a minor and subsidiary role, their close consideration is warranted as they raise issues lying at the heart of international criminal justice, such as ensuring fairness to accused persons (an obligation which should not end upon conviction) and the necessity of international cooperation. After first outlining the statutory regimes and fledgling practice of other international criminal jurisdictions, this chapter will focus on the regime for fines and forfeiture established by the ICC. Following a brief review of the relevant travaux préparatoires of the ICCSt in this regard, this chapter will set out in detail the key features of the ICC’s regime for fines and forfeiture, considering the issue of whether fines and forfeiture are regarded as punitive in nature in view of the Rome Statute’s ambiguity in this regard. The chapter will highlight the gaps and errors which remain in the ICC’s regime and critically assess its use of fines and forfeiture in its sentencing practice to date.
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