Edited by Surya Deva and David Birchall
Chapter 24: Atrocities and victim redress: the opportunities and challenges of international criminal justice
International criminal law and its principles and institutions have been touted as an important human rights enforcement tool in cases of business-related human rights abuses. While certain qualities of international criminal law make it appear amenable to this role, there are also limits to the extent to which international criminal law mechanisms can redress corporate human rights violation. The most immediate limitation is the narrow range of human rights abuses that overlap with the corpus of international crimes. Notwithstanding its obvious limits, in the context of business involvement in atrocity, international criminal justice seems particularly imperative. This chapter considers the value of international criminal law from the perspective of the victim’s right to access effective remedies in cases involving atrocity. It analyses what is expected under Pillar III of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in respect of the duty to ensure a victim’s access to effective remedies and, in particular, whether there is an expectation of a role for criminal law. It then explores the potentialities of international criminal law as a victim redress tool, taking into account recent developments within the field towards a more victim-centric approach. This includes the growing emphasis on victim reparations within international criminal institutions. Overall, it is argued that international criminal law is a necessary, if only partial, part of the story for pursing Pillar III objectives in the case of atrocity.
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