Justifying Compensation by the International Criminal Court’s Victims Trust Fund: Lessons from Domestic Compensation Schemes
41 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 5, 2009
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first international criminal tribunal that pays significant attention to victims. In particular, the Victims Trust Fund is tasked with both implementing complex Court ordered reparation awards and providing “assistance” to victims. Although this has clear implications for the nature of international criminal justice, which is being pushed in a more restorative direction, less attention has been paid to the normative rationale for setting up a Victims Trust Fund. It is anticipated that most of the condemned will not be in a position to pay the reparations imposed on them, but at the same time that reparations are a “right” of victims. The VTF, in addition, may receive funding through voluntary contributions by states, international organizations or individuals. The article draws on the theory and experience of several decades of domestic victim compensation schemes to try and provide a normative account of what the VTF will effectively be doing. It argues that there is a tension between the Court’s emphasis on reparations and the fact that the VTF has control over its own funds. The proper way to see the VTF is, ultimately, as both a way to supplement reparation awards and to provide assistance. It is suggested, however, that the VTF, like domestic compensation schemes, will evolve away from a rights model to one based on solidarity with and welfare towards victims.
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