Trial and (Potential) Error: Conflicting Visions on Reparations Within the ICC System

Alina Balta*, Manon Bax, Rianne Letschert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Twenty years ago, the International Criminal Court (hereinafter ICC or the Court) was established holding the aim of placing victims at the heart of international criminal justice proceedings and delivering justice to them through, among others, reparations. Article 75 of the Rome Statute lays out the reparations regime, and, in practice, court-ordered reparations are a means of delivering such justice. Focusing on Court decisions on reparations, our analysis takes stock of all developments before the ICC and attempts to highlight the mismatch between characteristics inherent to the objectives of international criminal trials such as providing accountability and punishment of the accused and delivering justice for victims of mass crimes-the so-called procedural challenges. We also submit that the Court is facing conceptual challenges, related to an apparent misunderstanding of the various concepts at stake: reparations as such and the various modalities and channels of enforcing them. We conclude that although the ICC's reparation regime may not be the best reparative response to provide justice to victims in conflict situations affected by mass victimization, we suggest that improving the ICC's approach includes, at a minimum, tackling these challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-248
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Criminal Justice Review
Issue number3
Early online date15 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • International Criminal Court
  • international criminal proceedings
  • mass victimization
  • justice for victims
  • reparations
  • reparative justice


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