Research Handbook on the International Penal System
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Research Handbook on the International Penal System

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.
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Chapter 5: Fines and forfeiture in international criminal justice

Rebecca Young


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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