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Victims and international criminal justice: a vexed question?

30-06-2008 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 870, by Mina Rauschenbach and Damien Scalia

Despite the growing attention being paid to "victims" in the framework of criminal proceedings, this attention does not seem to be meeting their needs under either national criminal justice systems or the international regime. In the latter, the difficulties encountered by the victims are aggravated by factors specifically arising from prosecution and punishment of mass crimes at the international level. This has prompted authors to point out that the prime purpose of criminal law is to convict or acquit the accused, and to suggest that the task of attending to the victims should perhaps be left to other entities.


Trained as a forensic pathologist and social psychologist, Mina Rauschenbach is a teaching assistant at the Centre d’étude, de technique et d’évaluation législatives, part of the law faculty at the University of Geneva. She is preparing a doctoral thesis in social psychology. Damien Scalia has an LL. M. in international humanitarian law. He is a teaching assistant at the University of Geneva’s Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and is preparing a doctorate in international criminal law.

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