By Benjamin Duerr*
The ICC Dictionary is a guide for everyone interested in the proceedings in The Hague. It contains almost 200 of the most important terms and concepts with short explanations in alphabetical order. Justice Hub is presenting a selection of some of the terms highlighted by the Dictionary.
Legal representative of victims (LRV): The legal representative of victims is a lawyer that represents the interests of victims in court. Usually victims do not travel to The Hague. Instead, a lawyer is appointed who presents their views and concerns to the Court. Sometimes two different representatives are appointed if the interests of victims groups differ, for example the families of child soldiers and the victims of the child soldiers would be represented by separate lawyers. Victims are free to choose their legal representative. However, the ICC Registrar provides a list with lawyers who fulfill the requirements regarding experience and knowledge of the Court's working language. The Registrar also established the Office of Public Counsel for Victims (OPCV) that supports and assists the legal representatives of victims.
Lemkin, Raphael: Lemkin (1900) was a Polish-Jewish lawyer who developed the concept of “genocide.” In his work he tried to establish international mechanisms to protect ethnic, religious and social groups. In 1944, after having emigrated to the US, he published his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” in which he introduced the word “genocide.” He wrote: “By 'genocide' we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group". This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing).” After World War II, Lemkin worked with the Americans in preparing the Nuremberg Tribunals. His efforts led to the inclusion of the word “genocide” in the indictment of the Nazi leaders. However, since it was not yet a legally recognised crime at that time, it did not appear in the judgments. Lemkin lobbied to have “genocide” codified in international law. In 1948, the UN General Assembly approved the Genocide Convention. Lemkin died in 1959.
London Charter: The London Charter was the document drafted by the Allied Powers to set up the Nuremberg tribunals. It was issued on 8 August 1945 and titled the “Charter of the International Military Tribunal - Annex to the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis.” The London Charter introduced the concept of individual criminal responsibility - thus, the idea that international law is not only applicable between states, but also to individuals. It is also referred to as Nuremberg Charter.
Have a look at the other letters: A
and the Numbers 1-10
*Benjamin Duerr is a correspondent and foreign reporter covering the International Criminal Court and the war crimes tribunals in The Hague.