Expert meeting: victims within criminal trials

Tuesday 12 June | 10.00 AM – 5.00 PM | Forum 2 | Vrije Universiteit | De Boelelaan 1105 | Amsterdam | ACADEMIA MEETS PRACTICE

Victims within Criminal Trials – Critical Domestic and International Approaches

The expert meeting is free and includes lunch and drinks. Sign up here.

In the recent decades, criminal justice systems around the world have witnessed an emergence of a victim-oriented criminal justice. Victim’s position within a criminal trial has changed from merely a passive object of a criminal inquiry to an active participant in the proceedings. These developments have changed the character and the dynamics of criminal trials and led to challenges in day-to-day practices on how to satisfy victims’ needs while not compromising the rights of the defendants.

New victim rights elicit a lot of discussion on how to put them into practice. In order to bring the discussion forward and to learn about good practices and developments, it seems informative to look at other criminal systems. In the Netherlands, for example, victims still have a relatively modest role and the influence of victims in court is still very much debated. Whereas at the International Criminal Court (ICC), victims already have a set of participatory rights that are more influential. What are the challenges, opportunities and differences in each system?

The seminar ‘Victims within Criminal Trials’ aims to bring together academics and practitioners who engage with victims in criminal law on a daily basis. Practitioners will learn about the most recent academic insights on victims in criminal trials, and academics will learn about the challenges and problems encountered in day-to-day practices. In addition, the seminar brings together experts from domestic and international courts in order to compare and contrast their experiences, practices and insights.

Three important victim-centric topics will be discussed: victims participation, reparation and apologies. The discussion panels will consist of both practitioners and academics, with expertise in international and domestic courts. Speakers will highlight the most important developments over the last decade and explore the promises and challenges of victims participation, reparation and apologies within criminal trials.  Each panel will be concluded by a discussant highlighting the main similarities and differences between the domestic and the international courts, and bringing together academia and practice.


10.00 – 10.30 AM Opening
10.30 AM – 12.00 Victim participation in criminal trials

  • Megan Hirst (ICC): The participation of victims in proceedings at the International Criminal Court
  • Sonja Leferink (Victim Support the Netherlands): Privileged or pacified? Victims in the Dutch criminal justice system.
  • Janne van Doorn (Leiden University): Emotional Victims and the Impact on Credibility: A Systematic Review


1.00 – 2.30 PM Victims reparations

  • Carine Pineau (ICC): Reparations for victims at the International Criminal Court: an emerging jurisprudence facing challenges
  • Renee Kool (University of Utrecht): Changing Lenses concerning Crime Victims Compensation
  • Stephan Parmentier (University of Leuven): Reparations for Victims of International Crimes: Meeting Needs and Managing Expectations


3.00 – 4.30 PM Offender apologies as restorative justice

  • Vincent Geeraets (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam): On compelled apologies and the right to be heard: what’s wrong with empirical-legal research with regard to victims?
  • Bas van Stokkom (Radboud University Nijmegen): Young offenders struggling to say sorry. Is delivering a sincere apology achievable?
  • Olivera Simic (Griffith University): A War Criminal’s Remorse: the case of Landzo and Plavsic


Each theme is concluded with a discussion.

dr. Barbora Holá

About dr. Barbora Holá

Barbora Holá works as a Senior Researcher at the NSCR and as an Associate Professor at the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at VU University of Amsterdam. She has an interdisciplinary focus and studies transitional justice after atrocities, in particular (international) criminal trials, sentencing of international crimes, enforcement of international sentences, rehabilitation of war criminals and life after trial at international criminal tribunals. Besides her research and teaching in the Master’s programme International Crimes and Criminology at VU Amsterdam, Barbora is a co-director of the Center for International Criminal Justice, a knowledge centre dedicated to interdisciplinary studies of mass atrocity crimes and international criminal justice ( and an editor of the e-Newsletter of Criminology and International Crimes. On the international level, Barbora is a member of the Africa-Low Countries Network and a board member of the European Society of Criminology Group on Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice. In 2017, Barbora was one of the four candidates who received the prestigious ‘WISE’ (Women in Science Excel) fellowship from the Dutch Organization for a Scientific Research to develop her research line on empirical studies of international criminal and transitional justice after atrocities.

Link to personal website.

View All Posts


Bernasco, W; Block, R; Levine, N; Cahill, I

The CrimeStat Discrete Choice Module Journal Article

pp. 22.1-22.34, 2013.