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Research Handbook on the International Penal System

Research Handbook on the International Penal System

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Róisín Mulgrew and Denis Abels

Drawing on the expertise and experience of contributors from a wide range of academic, professional and judicial backgrounds, this handbook critically analyses the laws, policies and practices that govern detention, punishment and the enforcement of sentences in the international criminal justice context. Comprehensive and innovative, it also explores broader normative questions related to international punishment and makes recommendations for the international penal system’s development.

Chapter 17: The International Criminal Court’s regime of victim redress: non-punitive responses to crimes under the Rome Statute

Conor McCarthy

Subjects: law - academic, criminal law and justice, human rights, public international law


Almost two decades since the establishment of the ICC, a great deal of uncertainty continues to surround its regime of victim redress, which comprises both a regime for Court-ordered reparations and the support provided by the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) pursuant to the Fund’s independent mandate to provide ‘physical, psychological rehabilitation and/or material support’ to victims. Perhaps foremost among the issues which remain unresolved is the underlying role, if any, of the ICC’s regime of victim redress as part of the criminal justice process established by the ICCSt. As will be seen, the Statute’s regime of victim redress is not intended to have a retributivist or punitive role. Moreover, while procedures for victims to obtain redress in the context of criminal proceedings are familiar to many national legal systems, especially civil law jurisdictions which make available to victims the possibility of participating in criminal proceedings as a partie civile to seek reparation, the proper role of such arrangements in an international criminal justice framework such as the ICC is not clear, not least given the potentially vast number of victims and the very limited resources available for redress. The present chapter therefore seeks to address two issues. The chapter explores the role of the ICCSt regime of victim redress, given its non-punitive character. The chapter also seeks, non-exhaustively, to explore some of the key challenges facing the Court as it seeks to discharge its mandate for providing victim redress.

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