The United Nations has established a ‘right to truth’ to be enjoyed by victims of gross violations of human rights. Such victims, and their communities, will have suffered terrible trauma and the belief is that knowledge of what happened and who was responsible can be of great importance in terms of both individual and social healing (including by victims being able to tell their story).
There is concern to give this right legal force in the context of criminal trials by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of alleged perpetrators. However there are likely to be considerable difficulties in integrating this right with the practices of the ICC if it, the ICC, is to fulfill other obligations, such as fairness to defendants. This proposal aims at improving the understanding of these difficulties by relating academic analysis to the views and attitudes of informed participants such as ICC lawyers and judges, defendant lawyers and victims’ representatives. The project involved obtaining such understanding through semi-structured interviews with these stakeholders.
The results are aimed to assist relevant groups, such as victims’ representatives and engaged NGOs, in their understanding of the possibilities and realistic limitations to the right, as well as contributing to the academic debate about the right. In particular, the research addresses the expectation or hope that the ‘right to truth’ can be transposed into an enforceable legal right at the ICC.