Great expectations: A critique of the International Criminal Court’s commitment to victims of sexual and gender-based violence



Master of International Criminal Law, University of Amsterdam.


The creators of the International Criminal Court (ICC) made a bold and novel commitment to victims, through remarkable participation and reparation schemes. In doing so, it contemporaneously committed the Court to restorative and victim-centric ideals, and shifted the field of International Criminal Law (ICL) into unchartered territory. Victims of particularly unprecedented attention at the Court were those of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), who had been notoriously excluded from the ambit of the preceding ad hoc tribunals. The ICC now nears twenty years of operation, and so this article uses SGBV victims as a case study through which broader critiques of the ICC's institutional capabilities can be launched. It delves into the figure of the SGBV victim within a socio-cultural context to posit an 'ideal' justice response. Through this new lens, it turns to critique the Court’s commitment to deliver justice for victims, and the validity of the restorative and victim-centric ideals.


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