Reconstructing Victim-Centered Justice on a Global Scale
Rianne Letschert and Jan Van Dijk, The New Faces of Victimhood, Springer, Global Justice Series, 2011
15 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 4, 2014
The various chapters in this book can be read as examples of the blatantly unjust sides of globalization. They testify how processes of globalization are producing increasing numbers of victims of old and new forms of transnational or international crimes. Due to increased mobility and the use of Internet, residents of one country can more easily than ever before victimize residents in other countries. New faces of criminal victimhood include victims of human trafficking, international terrorism, transnational organized crime, cross-border environmental crimes, Internet-based identity theft, cyberstalking and misconduct by private military companies. The authors have addressed the grave consequences of these crimes. They have also explored the extent to which conventional or new forms of international law effectively provide access to justice to victims across borders. Although in several fields of law international legal arrangements are emerging, the authors present several examples of the powerlessness of victim-complainants of global crime. In the absence of efficiently operating institutions for global justice, it often falls to the agencies of national states to initiate legal action against global crime. If no state feels obliged to investigate and prosecute transnational crimes or such investigations fail for lack of mutual legal aid, the victim is practically left without legal recourse. The International Criminal Court is at the moment the only global operating institution hailed for its’ victim-centered approach, although here too problems of implementation and proper outreach to victims are mentioned.
Each of the examples reveals how globalization produces new categories of victims and complicates their access to justice. On the other hand, it was also shown how globalization has encouraged the mindset of cosmopolitanism, leading to the emergence of a global conscience. Globalization, then, paradoxically, creates grave and persistent problems for victims as well as a growing willingness to provide remedies. The needs of victims are likely to stay an important theme within the ongoing debate on globalization. In this concluding chapter we will provide a general account of the negative and positive side-effects of globalization for victims. In the final section we will present ideas for a future research agenda.
Keywords: globalisation, victimology, crime
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