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Reparations for International Crimes and the development of a Civil Dimension of International Criminal Justice

Miriam Cohen defended her PhD dissertation entitled “Reparations for International Crimes and the development of a Civil Dimension of International Criminal Justice” on 28 June 2017. She wrote her thesis under the supervision of Professor L.J. van den Herik and Professor C. Stahn.

Miriam Cohen
28 June 2017
News item PhD Defence Miriam Cohen
Leiden University Repository

Her research looks into the development of a civil dimension of international justice and whether it can exist within the ethos of international criminal proceedings. It investigates whether this dimension should be integrated in the international criminal process or whether a separation of these mechanisms is preferred; in this latter case, it inquires whether other mechanisms, such as domestic civil litigation and/or administrative mechanisms, such as trust funds, should be the way forward.

The goal of her research was to examine whether, and to what extent, international criminal justice should be concerned with a civil dimension, by which justice theories it is guided, how this dimension is best shaped and how it should further develop. In this light, her thesis starts by looking at punishment and reparation through the analysis of the interplay between retributive and restorative or reparative justice theories. It then examines the leading International Criminal Court (ICC) decisions on reparations and dwells upon whether some aspects of criminal justice (e.g. standard of evidence, rights of the accused, prosecutorial discretion, etc.) give rise to tension concerning the civil nature of reparations. Building on domestic experiences, case studies and criminal law theories, her research hopes to provide a fresh outlook on the question of reparations for victims of international crimes, in international criminal proceedings and beyond.

Miriam pursued her PhD research while working full-time as an Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice.

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