Peace without justice is an illusion. The use of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute human rights violations not only provides restorative justice for those harmed by the wrongdoing but also retributive justice towards the perpetrators. Restorative justice seeks to help heal the wounds of the victims and community by acknowledging and witnessing the pain and suffering of the victim. Retributive justice seeks to punish the offenders. The hope is that retribution will deter or prevent future acts of violence by holding perpetrators accountable for the violations of human rights, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Many people believe that the path to justice is through criminal prosecution of the offenders. McDonell succinctly summarizes the relationship between restorative and retributive justice when he describes the victim’s viewpoint as follows: “if peace comes, and I know the person who killed my brother, raped my sister, killed my mother, how can I live with this person?” Seeking justice by ending the impunity for crimes and seeking redress for the victims is the only way to build a stable long-lasting peace. Such justice allows for social reconciliation, restoration and perhaps forgiveness.

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