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Aspects of victim participation in the proceedings of the International Criminal Court

30-06-2008 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 870, by Elisabeth Baumgartner

Participation of victims in criminal proceedings is generally a rather new phenomenon. The drafters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute chose to design a rather broad victim participation scheme. Although it is hailed as an important and effective instrument to give victims of gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law a voice, the procedural and substantive details are far from being settled. Some of the most significant issues are discussed in this article, including the question whether and how victim participation may influence sentencing and punishment.

   

Elisabeth Baumgartner is a legal adviser in the Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). 
 
Abstract 
The participation of victims in criminal proceedings is generally a rather new phenomenon. While there is a certain tradition of victim participation as ‘‘partie civile’’ in the criminal proceedings of some national jurisdictions, it is a novelty in international criminal trials. The drafters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute chose to design a rather broad victim participation scheme. Although it is hailed as an important and effective instrument for giving victims of gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law a voice, the procedural and substantive details are far from being settled. Some of the most significant issues are discussed in this article, including the question whether and how victim participation may influence sentencing and punishment.


 
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