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Refereed articles

A right to truth, justice and a remedy for African victims of serious violations of international humanitarian law

Avril McDonald deals with the possible right of victims to truth, justice and remedies in situations where violations of international humanitarian law constitute crimes under international law. She examines international law on genocide, crimes against humanity and the law on war crimes as well as customary international law.

Turning to the duty to prosecute international crimes, McDonald then deals with the different approaches adopted in South Africa, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. She concludes that concerns for the rights of perpetrators and the needs of the country as a whole cannot justify ignoring the needs and rights of victims. In addition to acknowledgement of the wrongs done to victims and various modes of compensation, it is argued, for many victims the need remains to see the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes prosecuted and punished remains.

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