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The Importance of a Retributive Approach to Justice

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that victims and survivors of crimes against humanity, and similar violations of international humanitarian law, are more likely to forgive and allow reconciliation to occur, without recourse to acts of revenge, if justice is achieved. The creation of a permanent deterrent at the international level, coupled with mechanisms that enable reconciliation demonstrate how the legacy of Nuremberg has had civilising consequences. To show the importance of the retributive approach the chapter explains the topic of reconciliation. Following the success of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the international community has had the confidence to create the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). It is to be hoped that as this Court becomes more operational it will provide an effective permanent deterrent to those who believe it is possible to commit atrocities with impunity.

Keywords: ICTR; ICTY; International Criminal Court (ICC); international humanitarian law; Nuremberg trial; retributive approach to justice



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