Rule-of-law Tools for Post-conflict States

Reparations Programmes

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In response to the myriad violations and abuses of fundamental rights that take place particularly during conflicts and under authoritarian regimes, a variety of measures have been developed. This publication has reviewed some of the relevant international law instruments on reparations, and has raised some of the most difficult challenges that reparations programmes have faced in different parts off the world. It is a practical tool to provide guidance on implementing reparations initiatives and focuses on how to establish (out-of-court) fair and effective reparations programmes in close association with other justice initiatives and with the participation of various stakeholders to help redress cases of gross and serious violations of human rights in the wake of conflict or authoritarian rule.

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Reparations in international law

International law traditionally addressed States as its major subjects. For example, it dealt with wrongful acts and ensuing reparations as a matter of inter-State responsibility. The leading opinion in this regard is set out in the often cited judgment of the Permanent Court of International Justice in the Chorzow Factory case: “It is a principle of international law that the breach of an engagement involves an obligation to make a reparation in an adequate form.”

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