Regaining trust

AuthorAmissi Manirabona,Jo-Anne Wemmers
Publication Date01 Jan 2014
DOI10.1177/0269758013511163
SubjectArticles
Article
Regaining trust: The importance
of justice for victims of crimes
against humanity
Jo-Anne Wemmers
Universite
´de Montre
´al, Canada
Amissi Manirabona
Universite
´de Montre
´al, Canada
Abstract
Crimes against humanity involve not only a willing offender but often collaboration by government
authorities as well. Besides threatening victims’ faith in others, their faith in government and social
institutions is also threatened. In this article we examine victims’ perceptions of justice in order to
obtain a better understanding of how to restore justice for victims following crimes against
humanity. Based on qualitative interviews with victims of crimes against humanity, we explore the
meaning and function of justice. The results support the Fairness Heuristic Theory of Justice, which
considers justice judgements to be a determinant of trust in authorities. The article closes with
recommendations for transitional governments.
Keywords
Crimes against humanity, procedural justice, transitional justice, victims
Introduction
It is well established that criminal victimization can have a major impact on the individual and
affect not only their well-being but also change their outlook on life. Crimes against humanity such
as genocide and torture are very serious both from a legal standpoint and from the victim’s point of
view. They involve not only a willing offender but often collaboration by government authorities
in addition. The victim’s whole world is torn apart. In addition to threatening their faith in others,
their faith in government and social institutions may be threatened. Unable to continue to justify
Corresponding author:
Jo-Anne Wemmers, E
´cole de Criminologie, Universite
´de Montre
´al, C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville, Montre
´al, Qc H3C
3J7, Canada.
Email: jo-anne.m.wemmers@umontreal.ca
International Review of Victimology
2014, Vol 20(1) 101–109
ªThe Author(s) 2013
Reprints and permission:
sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
DOI: 10.1177/0269758013511163
irv.sagepub.com
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