Simon Henderson, 2012


Languages: English, Mandarin and Cantonese
Thesis Advisor: Professor Cecile Aptel 

This thesis argues that a victim centered International Criminal Court (ICC) makes sense in line with the aims of international criminal justice and the moral reasoning behind the establishment of the ICC. The types of crimes that the ICC is faced with are inextricably linked to victim communities. War crimes occur within jurisdictional and communitarian limits. It is easy to identify the individuals and communities who have suffered harm at the hand of such crimes. Similarly, with genocide the purpose may be to victimize and destroy a cultural or racial grouping in the case of ethnic cleansing. When dealing with crimes against humanity, it is the world community at risk. This community, however defined, is at least partially a community of potential victims, and one for which international criminal justice is constructed.

State Parties have recognized ‘that the most serious of crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished.’ Putting an end to impunity is something that international cooperation, legislative frameworks, and donors can effectively assist with. However, justice should also be mindful of the millions of children, women and men who have been victims of unimaginable tragedies. A more victim focused ICC is directly linked to the purpose and function of the ICC. Giving full effect to developments in the field of victims’ rights in the last sixty years requires a vision that will look not only into the rule-based changes, but also towards the ICC’s culture and structure. By adopting measures that are more attuned to the needs of victims, the ICC will be seen as more legitimate in the eyes of victims.


In 2007, Simon Henderson graduated from The Australian National University, receiving Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce degrees, specializing in International Law and International Business. During the course of his undergraduate studies he received a scholarship to study at The University of Hong Kong as an exchange student. After graduating, Simon interned at Human Rights in China in Hong Kong in 2008. In 2009, he commenced work at the Law Council of Australia, working in the field of human rights law and criminal law advocacy. During 2009, Simon completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from The Australian National University and was admitted to The Supreme Court of The Australian Capital Territory. In 2010, he was promoted at the Law Council of Australia, expanding into a general advocacy role, with responsibility for access to justice, elder law, judiciary, courts, collaborative practice, and a variety of other issues. Simon has volunteered at a number of organizations, including the Welfare Rights and Legal Resource Centre and the Australian China Youth Association. At Fletcher, he has focused on international criminal law, international humanitarian law, social movements, and Asian studies. Simon is the Co-President of the Fletcher International Law Society, was a board member for the 5th China-US Relations Symposium, and has been a researcher for Professor Cecile Aptel. Simon is interested in working in advocacy or for an international court. He is currently Policy Lawyer at the Civil Justice Division of the Law Council of Australia, in Canberra, Australia. He will be presenting his LLM thesis at the ANZSIL-AsianSIL conference in Sydney in October 2012.