chapter  3
13 Pages

Restoring justice for victims of crimes against humanity J O - ANNE M . WEMMERS

The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998 was seen by many as a huge step forward for victims of crimes against humanity. Not only would the ICC address impunity, which throughout history countless tyrants had enjoyed, but it also included procedural rights for victims. Hence, many experts praised the ICC because of the hope that it held for victims. Indeed, the ability of the ICC to provide justice to victims was viewed by some experts in and around the court as the key to its success. In other words, if the court is unable to provide justice to victims, it will be considered a failure. If the ICC is to provide justice to victims, then we need to ask ourselves, what is justice according to victims and why is it important? People’s perceptions of fairness are the central object of study in organizational justice theory, an area of social psychology. It has been used in a wide variety of settings including civil litigation (Thibaut and Walker 1975; Lind and Tyler 1988), people’s contacts with police (Tyler 1990), and more recently victims’ contacts with the criminal justice system (Wemmers 1996; Strang 2002; Orth 2002). In this chapter we will examine the concept of justice and what it means to victims of crimes against humanity. In particular, the chapter addresses the different elements of justice that are available to the ICC with respect to the reparation of victims. This analysis reveals the opportunities and limitations of the ICC for restoring justice to victims.