IRRC No. 870

Victims and international criminal justice: a vexed question?

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Despite the growing attention being paid to "victims" in the framework of criminal proceedings, this attention does not seem to be meeting their needs under either national criminal justice systems or the international regime. In the latter, the difficulties encountered by the victims are aggravated by factors specifically arising from prosecution and punishment of mass crimes at the international level. This has prompted authors to point out that the prime purpose of criminal law is to convict or acquit the accused, and to suggest that the task of attending to the victims should perhaps be left to other entities.

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