The promise and practice of victim reparations in international criminal justice

image of Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia in session; schoolchildren are observing from the gallery.

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 14 June 2016


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Christoph Sperfeldt


+61 (0)2 6125 3948

The PhD midterm review seminar provides an opportunity for PhD scholars to give an update on the progress of their doctoral research and to receive feedback from beyond their supervisory panel. In this PhD midterm review seminar, Christoph Sperfeldt will discuss his thesis on victim reparations in international criminal justice.

Reparations are often seen as a central aspect of a more victim-oriented approach to justice and peace in the wake of mass atrocities. In what can be described as a potentially significant shift in which international criminal law is conceived, the International Criminal Court (ICC) became the first international criminal justice body to which individual victims of mass crimes could submit claims for reparations. Other internationalised criminal courts now also consider reparations for victims, most notably the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

Yet, the role and extent of reparations in international criminal justice remain contested among scholars, practitioners and activists, and considerable uncertainty surrounds how these reparations schemes work. Building on fieldwork in The Hague and Phnom Penh, Christoph examines from a socio-legal perspective the practice of reparations in the first cases before the ICC and the ECCC and tells a dynamic story of how these courts and other stakeholders have activated and interpreted the reparations mandates. He concludes with some preliminary observations emerging from the experience thus far, which reveal the unsettled nature of reparations and some of the larger fault lines in international justice more generally.

About the Speaker

Before joining RegNet, Christoph Sperfeldt worked mainly in the fields of human rights and transitional justice, with a focus on Southeast Asia. He has been Deputy Director at the Asian International Justice Initiative (AIJI), a joint program of the East-West Center and the Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, where supports regional human rights and justice sector capacity-building efforts in the ASEAN region. Prior to this, Christoph was Senior Advisor with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Cambodia. For more detail, view his RegNet profile.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet