36 Judicial Redress for Historical Crimes: Procedure GEOFFREY C. HAZARD, JR.* Introduction In logical and formal legal terms, the concept of compensation for victims of his- torical crimes through civil legal proceedings is perfectly coherent and can be im- plemented in many legal systems with limited technical difficulties. Claims for compensation can be formulated in pleadings on the basis of sub- stantive legal theorems recognized in virtually all modern legal systems. 1 Problems of evidence can be accommodated by relaxation of the restrictions on “hearsay” evidence. Various procedural mechanisms exist in all modern legal systems by which claims of multiple claimants can be joined together in one action or by consolida- tion of separate proceedings. Adjustments in other procedural rules that formally are only minor ones would accommodate the claims. Hence, arguments question- ing the legitimacy of claims for compensation for historical crimes cannot be intel- ligently addressed in terms of conventional legal analysis of judicial procedures. Instead, different terms of reference are required. Substantive Bases of Claims A first requirement of a procedurally valid claim is that it rest on a substantive legal basis recognized under applicable law. Virtually all wrongs within the category of “historic crimes”
International Law FORUM du droit international (continued in International Community Law Review) – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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