Anglia Ruskin University
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The treatment of victims in the international criminal court cases of Lubanga and Katanga

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posted on 2023-08-30, 18:48 authored by Oriola O. Oyewole
This thesis analyses the extent to which victims' rights and interests are respected at the International Criminal Court(ICC). It examines how such rights and interests operate at the ICC through the framework of three themes. These themes are (1)prosecutorial discretion,(2) trial process and(3) sentencing decisions. These three themes are convenient as they enable an examination of victims' rights and interests at the different phases of criminal prosecution at the ICC. In the available scholarship, researchers have utilised qualitative interviews in assessing victim participation at the ICC. This researcher has decided to complement the available scholarship in this area by using a rarely-used and important data source for evaluating victim participation, namely, case transcripts. The research has undertaken a thematic analysis of the case transcripts to examine the extent to which these rights and victims have been respected. In investigating these questions, I used the decided cases of Lubanga and Katanga cases. The literature on prosecutorial discretion has highlighted the prosecutor's decision based on 'interests of justice' and 'gravity of crime'. However, there are relatively few studies on prosecutorial discretion's impact on victims' rights and interests. This research, therefore, addresses this gap in the knowledge. While a large and growing body of literature has focused on victims' participation during the trial process, most of this literature focused on fair trial issues and a comparison of victims' rights with defendants rights. Rather than focusing on a fair trial issue, this research adopts a more victims-focused approach and assesses the extent to which the rights and interests of victims-are respected during the trial process to access justice and express their concerns. Regarding the degree to which victims' rights and interests are respected in sentencing, to the researcher's best knowledge, very few publications are available in the literature that addresses the issue of victims' rights and interests in the ICC sentencing decision. Here also, therefore, the research makes an essential contribution to the available knowledge on this subject. Therefore, this thesis provides an exciting opportunity to advance our knowledge on the degree to which the ICC respects the rights and interests of victims by using the thematic analysis of prosecutorial discretion, trial process and sentencing decision, based on a rarely-used and important source of data, namely, case transcripts. The analysis indicates that victims' rights and interests are generally recognised and given importance by the ICC. However, the findings also suggest that prosecutorial discretion has a significant influence on victims' rights and interests from the early phase of selection of situations through the commencement of cases to trial proceedings. In addition, the thesis found that the exercise of victims' rights and their interests during the trial remains secondary and subordinate to the defendants' rights, rather than being on an equal stance with the rights of the defendant. Concerning the third theme, this thesis indicates that victims' rights and interests are respected during sentence hearing. However, such rights and interests remain significantly influenced by judicial discretion and the approaches of different decision-makers.In this context, the thesis makes an original and important contribution to knowledge for shedding more light on the operation of victims' rights and interests at the ICC.



Anglia Ruskin University

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