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Use of Rights Language at the International Criminal Court: A Revealing Closer Look at ICC Transcripts

Bailoun, Zeinab

This paper studies the use of rights language at the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the context of situations from the Central African Republic (CAR) and Uganda. The research looks firsthand at transcripts from court proceedings and extracts references to the term “right.” The results reveal that rights are referenced most often in the context of “general” rights, and that there is much greater emphasis on rights in the context of due process, as opposed to rights of victims of the original abuses. This paper proposes that the ICC should adopt a human rights based framework that (1) encourages judges, victims, the prosecution, and the defense to use specific human rights rhetoric that references particular, justiciable rights, and (2) encourages actors within the criminal justice process to attempt to give near-equal weight to the rights of the various parties. The framework’s priorities should be: (1) promoting and protecting human rights within the International Criminal Court; (2) ensuring that rights of all parties in the criminal justice process are recognized and appropriately addressed; (3) enhancing the likelihood that a party with a specific grievance will raise the grievance in the form of a reference to an explicit right; and (4) enforcing the responsibility of duty-bearers to meet their obligations with regard to rights-holders’ particular claims.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Martin, Joseph Paul
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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