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postgraduate thesis: A children's rights audit of the International Criminal Court

TitleA children's rights audit of the International Criminal Court
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Walsh, A. J.. (2015). A children's rights audit of the International Criminal Court. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractInvolvement with criminal proceedings can be a daunting and stressful experience for children and may even have adverse effects on children’s psychological and physical wellbeing if proceedings are not conducted in a child friendly manner in accordance with their basic human rights. While children have traditionally played a marginal role at earlier international criminal tribunals, children are increasingly involved in proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) as victims, witnesses and potential recipients of reparations. This gives rise to the question to what extent the laws, policies and practice of the ICC in relation to child victims and witnesses meet child friendly justice standards as set out in various international children’s rights treaties and documents. In answering this question this thesis conducted an audit of the ICC using a unique child friendly justice measurement matrix. Using this matrix the audit closely examined different institutional levels of the Court in relation to five aspects of child friendly justice: accountability for crimes committed against children; protection of child victims and witnesses; children’s participation in ICC proceedings; children’s role as potential beneficiaries of reparations; and the adoption of institutional measures of implementation. The audit revealed that ICC ‘compliance’ with children’s rights varies among different institutional dimensions as well as among different categories of rights. Specifically, the audit found that the ICC has a strong in principle committed towards ensuring the protection of children’s rights. This is also reflected in the legal framework of the Court with the inclusion of a variety of ‘child friendly’ provisions relating to all aspects of their interaction with the court. Nevertheless, the audit found that this commitment is not fully translated into practice and that practice in relation to children to date has been a mixed experience. For example, the audit found that whilst the realisation of accountability for crimes committed against children has been relatively good in relation to the crime of the recruitment and use of child soldiers but very limited in relation to other crimes. Moreover, while the realisation of protection rights of children has been fairly good, gaps remain in the realisation of the participatory rights of children. The audit identified the absence of certain necessary institutional measures of implementation in particular the adoption of a court-wide children’s strategy and training and awareness-raising of children’s rights among all staff as obstacles preventing further realisation of children’s rights at the Court. The findings of the audit make clear that the Court still has a long way to go in being fully ‘child friendly’. The thesis argues that serious efforts need to be made to ‘mainstream’ children’s rights into the policies and practice of the Court. The thesis argues that increased knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and their specific needs and interests in the context of international criminal justice through training and awareness-raising is the first step towards further compliance with children’s rights as this will have trickledown effect to other areas and aspects of the organisations.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectChildren's rights
Dept/ProgramLaw
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/227945

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWalsh, Annelotte Jorien-
dc.date.accessioned2016-07-26T23:17:44Z-
dc.date.available2016-07-26T23:17:44Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationWalsh, A. J.. (2015). A children's rights audit of the International Criminal Court. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/227945-
dc.description.abstractInvolvement with criminal proceedings can be a daunting and stressful experience for children and may even have adverse effects on children’s psychological and physical wellbeing if proceedings are not conducted in a child friendly manner in accordance with their basic human rights. While children have traditionally played a marginal role at earlier international criminal tribunals, children are increasingly involved in proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) as victims, witnesses and potential recipients of reparations. This gives rise to the question to what extent the laws, policies and practice of the ICC in relation to child victims and witnesses meet child friendly justice standards as set out in various international children’s rights treaties and documents. In answering this question this thesis conducted an audit of the ICC using a unique child friendly justice measurement matrix. Using this matrix the audit closely examined different institutional levels of the Court in relation to five aspects of child friendly justice: accountability for crimes committed against children; protection of child victims and witnesses; children’s participation in ICC proceedings; children’s role as potential beneficiaries of reparations; and the adoption of institutional measures of implementation. The audit revealed that ICC ‘compliance’ with children’s rights varies among different institutional dimensions as well as among different categories of rights. Specifically, the audit found that the ICC has a strong in principle committed towards ensuring the protection of children’s rights. This is also reflected in the legal framework of the Court with the inclusion of a variety of ‘child friendly’ provisions relating to all aspects of their interaction with the court. Nevertheless, the audit found that this commitment is not fully translated into practice and that practice in relation to children to date has been a mixed experience. For example, the audit found that whilst the realisation of accountability for crimes committed against children has been relatively good in relation to the crime of the recruitment and use of child soldiers but very limited in relation to other crimes. Moreover, while the realisation of protection rights of children has been fairly good, gaps remain in the realisation of the participatory rights of children. The audit identified the absence of certain necessary institutional measures of implementation in particular the adoption of a court-wide children’s strategy and training and awareness-raising of children’s rights among all staff as obstacles preventing further realisation of children’s rights at the Court. The findings of the audit make clear that the Court still has a long way to go in being fully ‘child friendly’. The thesis argues that serious efforts need to be made to ‘mainstream’ children’s rights into the policies and practice of the Court. The thesis argues that increased knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and their specific needs and interests in the context of international criminal justice through training and awareness-raising is the first step towards further compliance with children’s rights as this will have trickledown effect to other areas and aspects of the organisations.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshChildren's rights-
dc.titleA children's rights audit of the International Criminal Court-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5774089-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLaw-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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