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Redress for Victims of Crimes Under International Law

Bottigliero, Ilaria
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

This book consists of a revised version of Ilaria Bottigliero’s doctoral thesis, completed at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Bottigliero begins the book with the assertion that redress for victims of crime forms a basic principle of justice. Throughout history most of the world’s legal systems have acknowledged this principle that victims should receive some form of redress. However, Bottigliero notes, it has been much easier for victims of “ordinary” crimes – such as vandalism, robbery, assault, and even murder – to obtain redress than for victims of more severe crimes such as war crimes, human rights violations, or genocide. Why is this the case? Why have victims of some of the worst crimes received “second class” treatment or no justice at all? In profound ways, the greatest crimes pose the greatest challenge in terms of redress for victims. While there has been increasing consensus in international perspectives and laws that such victims deserve redress in some form in the search for justice and peace, there has been far less consensus on how to accomplish this, and little is done for such victims. In the interests of advancing the international community’s perspectives on and capacity for providing redress for the worst crimes, Bottigliero examines several key aspects of this question: the historical origins of the principle of victims’ redress; its evolution; and its application in the current frameworks of domestic law, regional and universal human rights regimes, humanitarian law, state responsibility, United Nations practice, and international criminal law. Her study includes a substantial chapter on the origins of the victims’ right to redress – specifically, the historical swing from restoration to retribution and back to restoration, especially as seen in the movement from retributive justice to restorative justice.


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