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The ICC as a Transitional Justice Actor: New Space for Victims?

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Keywords: Transitional Justice; International Criminal Court; Reparation; Truth Telling; Victims' Rights; ICC Trust Fund for Victims.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has attracted the attention of both scholars and practitioners because of its unique victim-oriented regime. The key features of the victims' participation regime provided by the ICC are unprecedented. Beside the possibility of acting as witness, victims of crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC have the right to be heard by the judges at every stage of the proceedings. Furthermore, they may participate in the proceedings expressing their opinion on a wide range of issues including the extent of the charge and reparation related issues. Moreover, the ICC is developing a rich case law regarding reparations for the victims of the crimes it adjudicates. Finally, an assistance mandate is discharged by a body connected with the ICC, the Trust Fund for Victims, which constitutes an unparalleled experiment in the realm of international criminal justice. All this has triggered a wide debate on the possible role of the ICC as a victim-focused transitional justice instrument. The aim of this contribution includes the following: 1) briefly describing the victims-related mandate of the ICC system; 2) analysing the opportunities for victims' participation in the procedures before the ICC and their importance for transitional justice; 3) addressing the reparation-related man-date of the ICC in the light of the first decisions on reparation; 4) presenting the legal framework governing the ICC Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) while simultaneously addressing the main legal challenges stemming from it. In the conclusions, I point out what role the broad victim-oriented mandate of the ICC might play to benefit the victims of crimes falling within its jurisdiction.

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