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Collective Reparations and the Limitations of International Criminal Justice to Respond to Mass Atrocity

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Crimes under international criminal law (ICL) are complex and are necessarily committed by complex nets of perpetrators with different degrees of responsibility. Claims have been raised against ICL as a mechanism overly focused on the legal fiction of an individual perpetrator, obscuring the true collective dimension of the crimes. Despite these criticisms, ICL has incorporated a mechanism to address this collective dimension, at least on the side of the victims: collective reparations. However, the emerging use of collective reparations faces important challenges in an avenue based on an individual-perpetrator logic. Here, I identify current difficulties in the early practice of collective reparations in international criminal justice. These difficulties relate mainly with procedural issues and the role of the ‘adjunct mechanisms’ such as the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV). I submit that these difficulties reflect the inherent tensions present in the asymmetrical treatment of the collective dimension of the crimes

Affiliations: 1: Doctoral Candidate, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland,


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