Synergism or antagonism: Different international courts' approaches to the assessment of the harm when granting collective reparations.

ICL lunch seminar with Diana Odier-Contreras Garduno.


Collective reparations have been established as the most appropriate response to address the harm suffered by victims of gross violations of human rights and egregious international crimes. As such, these measures have become the footprint of international human rights courts such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), and of international criminal tribunals such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Extraordinary Chambers of the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) when granting reparations to victims of the most heinous violations of human rights. 
Whilst there is no single accepted meaning of these remedial measures under international law, their ‘adequate’ content seems to be decided on a case-by-case basis. In this regard, academics have submitted that the assessment of the harm alleged and the wishes and needs of the victims and communities affected seem to be the key elements in deciding the adequate content of collective reparations in a given case. This raises questions regarding which tests and thresholds need to be met by the victims and communities in order to prove their alleged harm, as well as which methodology should courts employ to assess such harm in order to decide the exact content of collective reparations. This presentation compares and assesses the different rules and techniques employed by the IACtHR, the ICC, and the ECCC in assessing the harm alleged, including moral, material, and collective harm. Since the beneficiaries’ eligibility criteria, the rules related to causation, and the standard of proof all directly influence the harm assessment; an analysis of them will be also discussed.


Dr. Diana Odier-Contreras Garduño is a lecturer in international human rights law and a tutor at University College Utrecht (UCU). She is also the coordinator of two law programs (Double Degree in Law and Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Transnational Law) and serves as a chair of the UCU Council. In September 2018, she obtained her PhD from Utrecht University’s Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), with the title Collective Reparations: Tensions and Dilemmas Between Collective Reparations with the Individual Right to Receive Reparations.


Pluricourts holds a monthly international criminal law (ICL) lunch, where an invited ICL expert gives a presentation on a topic of their choice, followed by questions from the audience. The aim is to provide a wide-ranging lecture series, giving varied insights into what is happening within the field of ICL today. We invite speakers from different backgrounds, and have had presentations from Norwegian- based and international academics, as well as speakers from local agencies who work with ICL-related issues, such as Kripos and the Norwegian Red Cross. The lunches also function as a meeting point for those who are interested in ICL, allowing for ideas to be exchanged and developed. They are open to the public, and are attended by staff, students and those working in ICL in the Oslo area.

Tags: Criminal law
Published Mar. 12, 2019 1:49 PM - Last modified Apr. 1, 2019 11:50 AM