Victims’ Rights and Peace

  • Hans-Peter Kaul


The contribution provides an overview of the ICC victims’ participation and reparations system. It analyses the origins of the system—the French system of victims’ participation in criminal proceedings—and examines its potential to alleviate and to acknowledge the sufferings of the victims but also the many challenges or even risks for errors it presents. The article refers in particular to the problem of establishing standards of evidence sufficient to ascertain that a person has suffered harm as a result of the commission of a crime under the jurisdiction of the Court and the related issue of establishing a person’s identity. It also refers to the Court’s obligation to guarantee the victims a genuine and authentic participation in the proceedings through a legal representative. The article highlights the significant contribution to promote reconciliation and peace in regions affected by mass crimes the ICC system of victims’ participation and reparations can make. In the second part of this article, the author turns the attention to several key questions concerning the relationship between victims’ rights and peace: what are the factors and risks leading time and again to mass victimisation of human beings? Is it not a fundamental and urgent necessity for all concerned to exhaust all ways and means to prevent developments that lead to mass victimisation? Given this question, the author finds that the most serious dangers and grave risks to make thousands of men, women and children victims of international crimes are brought about by war-making, illegal or questionable uses of armed force or outright crimes against peace as defined in the Nuremberg principles. The conclusion is that the best chance to prevent mass victimisation is determination and resolve in the prevention of questionable uses of armed force, including possible future crimes against peace, crimes of aggression as defined in Articles 8 bis and 15 bis and 15 ter of the Rome Statute, as, according to experience, they inevitably lead to widespread human suffering and victims.


Victim participation Standards of evidence Proof of identity Legal representative Domestic legal community Nuremberg principles Kampala Rome Statute 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pre-Trial Division of the International Criminal CourtThe HagueThe Netherlands

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