In Vindication of Justiciable Victims' Rights to Truth and Justice for State-Sponsored Crimes
Aldana-Pindell, Raquel, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law
In this Article, Professor Aldana-Pindell explores the norms establishing a state's responsibility to grant victims of human rights violations adequate rights in the criminal prosecution process as a remedy for their victimization. She argues that victim-focused prosecution norms comport and provide more effective means of promoting respect for human rights, in certain nations in democratic transition from mass atrocities. Moreover, she suggests that, as part of other justice reforms, states plagued with impunity should adopt criminal procedures granting surviving human rights victims greater standing in the prosecution process. Professor Aldana-Pindell then uses Guatemala to examine the factors that compel the need for reformed victim's rights in a country whose criminal justice system is wrought with incompetence and corruption.
TABLE OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION II. DEVELOPMENTS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW ON VICTIMS' RIGHTS IN THE CRIMINAL PROCESS A. Prosecutions as an Effective Remedy For Victims of Violent Crimes 1. Caselaw Interpreting Comprehensive Human Rights Treaties a. The Human Rights Committee b. The Inter-American Court on Human Rights c. The European Court on Human Rights 2. Specialized Treaties or Declarations a. The Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation of Victims of Violations of international Human Rights and Humanitarian Law b. Other U.N. Human Rights Instruments B. Victims' Participatory Rights in the Criminal Process 1. The United Nations a. The Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power b. The Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Criminal Court c. Other U.N. Human Rights Instruments 2. European Nations a. The Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers b. The European Court on Human Rights c. The European Union III. WHY SURVIVING HUMAN RIGHTS VICTIMS' DEMAND PROSECUTIONS AS A REMEDY FOR STATE-SPONSORED CRIMES A. The Right to Truth 1. The Substantive Right to Truth 2. The Procedural Right to Truth B. The Right to Justice 1. Criminal Punishment for Accountability 2. Criminal Punishment for Retribution 3. Criminal Punishment for Equal Treatment IV. THE CASE FOR VICTIM-FOCUSED PROSECUTIONS A. Criminal Punishment to Purge the State of Human Rights Violators B. Criminal Punishment to Legitimate the State C. The Expressive Functions of Punishment 1. Criminal Punishment as Moral Educator 2. Criminal Punishment as Tamer of Anger V. GUATEMALA'S STORY OF IMPUNITY A. Guatemala's Cycle of Violence B. Impunity's Contribution to Guatemala's Violence 1. State Corruption 2. Toleration for Human Rights Violations 3. Vigilante Justice VI. CONCLUSION
The prominence of international human rights law emerged as nations encountered, at the end of World War II, one of the worst examples of what Kant deemed "radical evil." (1) Never before World War II had humanity confronted an authoritarian leader who espoused an explicit doctrine of racial superiority to enslave and exterminate millions of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, and other religious and ethnic minorities. The advent of the Holocaust drove most nations to reconsider state sovereignty claims over the individual rights of its citizens. …