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Ius Humanitatis and the Right to Reparation for International Crimes in Foreign Domestic Courts

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This article focuses on the possibilities for victims of international crimes to obtain reparation in a foreign domestic court. The chances of success for such claims are small under traditional international law. The article questions whether the development of human rights and humanitarian ethics as a core element of international law (referred to as ius humanitatis) is having an impact on traditional obstacles to making such claims. Two elements are considered: the relevance of changing societal attitudes to the ‘rights’ of victims of such crimes and their possible effect on the interpretation and application of existing law, and whether in present-day international law humanitarian concerns have led to limiting obstacles that are still based on sovereignty, notably regarding the universality principle, prescription, and state immunity. The general conclusion is that on all these points much remains to be done.

Affiliations: 1: Professor of Public International Law, Groningen University, The Netherlands


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