International Criminal Justice
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International Criminal Justice

Legitimacy and Coherence

Edited by Gideon Boas, William A. Schabas and Michael P. Scharf

International criminal justice as a discipline throws up numerous conceptual issues, engaging disciplines such as law, politics, history, sociology and psychology, to name but a few. This book addresses themes around international criminal justice from a mixture of traditional and more radical perspectives.
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Chapter 11: Have recent changes designed to benefit victims of international crimes added to the legitimacy of international criminal justice?

Sam Garkawe


Since the 1970s, more attention, support and rights have been accorded to victims of crime in both domestic and international criminal justice.1 While this chapter will describe and critically analyse these changes for victims of international crimes, it is important to point out at this early stage that these changes must be seen in the context of a broad social movement2 (often referred to as the ‘victims’ movement’) stemming from the late 1960s, that arguably has made considerable progress in enhancing the cause of victims of domestic crime. While it is true that there are some unique aspects of international criminal justice that make a number of considerations different for victims of international crimes compared with victims of domestic crimes,3 the two are very much related, and such differences can be easily overrated. This is shown by the fact that the largest single overall achievement of the victims’ movement, namely the unanimous agreement by the United Nations General Assembly to the 1985 Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power (the ‘Declaration’),4 was conceived at the time of its passage as applying primarily to domestic criminal justice.5 However, as will be shown below, this instrument has been very influential in later international instruments that have dealt with victims of international crimes, and certainly its terms and principles apply equally to victims of both domestic and international crimes.

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