The Reparations Regime of the ICC: Legal Analysis and Legitimacy Standards

PluriCourts seminar with Postdoctoral Fellow Juan Pablo Pérez-Léon-Acevedo on the reparations regime in the International Criminal Court.

This session seeks to present Pérez-Léon-Acevedo's main line of research at PluriCourts. One of the most important and distinctive features of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its related Rome system is the introduction of a reparations regime for victims of international crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction. This is led by a restorative justice paradigm meant as a turning point, as the previous international criminal tribunals had relegated victims to the role of mere witnesses. However, the ICC’s reparations regime and its legitimacy are yet to be fully tested.

Against this background, the main research questions pursued herein are: i) to analyze comprehensively the legal features of the ICC’s reparations regime; and ii) to determine whether and to what extent the ICC’s reparations regime is legitimate according to normative legitimacy standards. It is also sought to provide some proposals to strengthen the said regime and, thus, the ICC as a whole. In Pérez-Léon-Acevedo's research, the ICC’s reparations regime is comprehensively and legally analyzed under four main aspects: i) context, main features and principles; ii) who can claim and receive reparations?; iii) how can victims claim and receive reparations?; and iv) what can victims receive as reparations?

These aspects of the ICC’s reparations regimes are examined in light of six identified and selected legitimacy standards as adapted to international (criminal) law, particularly, the ICC. These standards are: i) rule of law values; ii) human rights; iii) principle of complementarity (subsidiarity); iv) democratic consent and control; v) consistency or coherence; and vi) effectiveness. A comparative approach is followed as, inter alia, the practices of other international and hybrid criminal courts with mandate to provide reparations, regional human rights courts at the Inter-American, European and African systems of human rights, the International Court of Justice, and domestic judicial and non-judicial institutions are examined. This seeks to demonstrate that the ICC’s reparations regime is an inheritor of, part of, and catalyst for a much broader reparations regime or network. To some extent, sociological legitimacy, mainly existent empirical qualitative and quantitative research, is used to complement the normative and legal analysis.



PluriCourt Seminars are a forum for pluridisciplinary discussion of core issues relating to international courts and tribunals. PluriCourts scholars or invited speakers present new and ongoing research or comment on current questions. The seminars are open to everyone.

Tags: Criminal law, Legitimacy
Published Jan. 11, 2017 1:53 PM - Last modified Apr. 7, 2020 4:12 PM