Faculty of Law

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) Term 3 2014 (On-campus block of classes)


Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.


This unit focuses on the victims of mass atrocity. After assessing the meaning of victimization, the unit focuses on what justice means to victims, differentiating between retributive, expressive and restorative justice and exploring the tensions that may inhere between various communities of victims. It also provides detailed analysis of the variety of post-conflict accountability mechanisms: trials, truth commissions, civil proceedings, amnesty, customary dispute resolution, and reparations. It also covers the law and jurisprudence of the International Criminal Court, and other international tribunals, in terms of victim participation in criminal proceedings, victim reparations, and victim damage claims. In addition, it will include case studies and discussion of how disempowered groups become enmeshed as agents of violence during episodes of mass atrocity.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of, and understanding of recent developments in, international criminal and human rights law with creativity and initiative to new for further learning in relation to reference to victim's rights, accountability for atrocity, and criminological understandings of human agency in times of political violence.
  2. Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in international criminal law and human rights law, in particular, with reference to feminist theory, ethnographic method, neuroscience, victimology, and other interdisciplinary perspectives.
  3. Using a comparative perspective conduct research based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods concerning the needs, conduct, goals, responsibilities, and ambitions of victims of human rights abuses so as to create new understandings of key developments, likely future directions and current and emerging problems, including the vastly underappreciated reality that, during episodes of massive political violence, victims may come to victimise others.
  4. Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to the study of victims of human rights abuses.


Research assignment (3,750 words): 50%
Take-home examination (3,750 words): 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per teaching period (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)