Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vsgnj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-25T04:46:37.488Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Collective reparation for victims of armed conflict

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2010

Abstract

Reparations are essential to establishing justice after armed conflicts. The question whether international law endorses an individual right to reparation has been a focal point of recent discussion in that regard. The victims of armed conflicts are, however, not only individuals but also collectives. The present article therefore examines the issue of collective reparation. While it is submitted that the question whether there is a right to such a remedy is not yet settled, it is argued that responsible parties should develop robust programmes of collective reparation.

Type
Selected Article on International Humanitarian Law
Copyright
Copyright © International Committee of the Red Cross 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 Harbom, Lotta, Melander, Erik, and Wallensteen, Peter, ‘Dyadic dimensions of armed conflict, 1946–2007’, in Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 45, 2008, pp. 697CrossRefGoogle Scholarff.

2 Permanent Court of International Justice, Case Concerning Factory at Chórzow, Merits, Series A, No. 17, (1928), p. 47. Deviations from the standard of full reparation are discussed for situations of mass atrocities. See e.g. Ethiopia–Eritrea Claims Commission, Final Award between the State of Eritrea and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Eritrea's Damages Claims, 17 August 2009, para. 22.

3 Emanuela-Gillard, Chiara, ‘Reparation for violations of international humanitarian law’, in International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 85, No. 851, 2003, p. 536Google Scholar; Riccardo Mazzeschi, Pisillo, ‘Reparation claims by individuals for state breaches of humanitarian law and human rights: an overview’, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 1, 2003, p. 343Google Scholar; Albrecht Randelzhofer, ‘The legal position of the individual under present international law’, in Albrecht Randelzhofer and Christian Tomuschat, State Responsibility and the Individual: Reparation in Instances of Grave Violations of Human Rights, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1999, p. 231; Fischer-Lescano, Andreas, ‘Subjektivierung völkerrechtlicher Sekundärregeln: die Individualrechte auf Entschädigung und effektiven Rechtsschutz bei Verletzungen des Völkerrechts’, in Archiv des Völkerrechts, Vol. 45, 2007, p. 331Google Scholar; Bank, Robert and Schwager, Elke, ‘Is there a substantive right to compensation for individual victims of armed conflict against a state under international law?’, in German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 49, 2006, pp. 398Google Scholarff.; Elke Schwager, Ius bello durante et bello confecto, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 2008; Rainer Hofmann, ‘Victims of violations of international humanitarian law: do they have an individual right to reparation against states under international law?’, in Pierre-Marie Dupuy et al. (eds), Common Values in International Law: Essays in Honour of Christian Tomuschat, N.P. Engel Verlag, Kehl, 2006, p. 357; Frulli, Micaela, ‘When are states liable towards individuals for serious violations of humanitarian law? The Markovich case’, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 1, 2003, pp. 417f.Google Scholar; Sassòli, Marco, ‘State responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law’, in International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 84, No. 846, 2002, p. 419Google Scholar; Zegveld, Liesbeth, ‘Remedies for victims of violations of international humanitarian law’, in International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 85, No. 851, 2003, pp. 497Google Scholarf.

4 For an overview of the remedies awarded under claims programmes, see Howard M. Holtzmann and Edda Kristjánsdóttir, International Mass Claims Processes: Legal and Practical Perspectives, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007; Hans van Houtte, Bart Delmartino, and Iasson Yi, Post-war Restoration of Property Rights under International Law, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008; Norbert Wühler and Heike Niebergall, Property Restitution and Compensation, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Geneva, 2008.

5 On the definition of collective reparation, see also Heidi Rombouts, Victim Organisations and the Politics of Reparation, Intersentia, Antwerp, 2004, pp. 34f.

6 Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Programa Integral de Reparaciones, paras. 2.2.3.2 and 2.2.4.3.3, available at: http://www.cverdad.org.pe/ifinal/pdf/TOMO%20IX/2.2%20PIR.pdf (last visited 12 August 2010).

7 Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste (CAVR), Chega!, Final Report of the CAVR, para. 10.3.4, available at: http://www.cavr-timorleste.org/en/chegaReport.htm (last visited 10 August 2010).

8 South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, March 2003, Vol. 6, Section 2, ch. 1, para. 14, available at: http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/index.htm (last visited 12 August 2010).

9 The adjective ‘collective’ specifies the subject that receives reparation, not the process of awarding reparation. Situations where individual claims are settled in a mass claims procedure are therefore not considered as collective reparation.

10 CAVR, above note 7, para. 11.4.

11 Ibid., para. 10.2.

12 Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, above note 6, para. 2.2.2.2.2.2.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.

15 See IACtHR, Mayagna (Sumo) Awas Tingi Community v. Nicaragua, Judgment of 31 August 2001 (Merits, Reparations and Costs).

16 See the comprehensive analysis by Dubinsky, Paul, ‘Justice for the collective: the limits of the human rights class action’, in Michigan Law Review, Vol. 104, 2004, p. 1182Google Scholar. See also Roth-Arriaza, Naomi, ‘Reparations, decisions and dilemmas’, in Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 27, 2004, p. 181.Google Scholar

17 On the effects that violations of international law can have on collectives, see Chris Dolan, Social Torture: The Case of Northern Uganda, 1986–2006, Berghahn, Oxford, 2009, p. 236.

18 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, UN Doc. A/CONF.183/9 of 17 July 1998.

19 For an example of the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, see IACtHR, Moiwana Community v. Suriname, Judgment of 15 June 2005 (Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs).

20 This is problematic given the large number of incidental losses resulting from lawful conduct. For a discussion of a right to reparation in these situations, see Ronen, Yaël, ‘Avoid or compensate? Liability for incidental injury to civilians inflicted during armed conflict’, in Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 42, 2009, p. 181, pp. 195ff.Google Scholar

21 For further reference, see James Crawford, The International Law Commission's Articles on State Responsibility: Introduction, Text and Commentaries, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002, p. 14; Jean Combacau and Dénis Alland, ‘“Primary” and “secondary” rules in the law of state responsibility: categorizing international obligations’, in René Provost (ed.), State Responsibility in International Law, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2002, pp. 67–95.

22 See Cordula Droege, Positive Verpflichtungen der Staaten in der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention, Springer, Berlin, 2003.

23 See e.g. Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986, pp. 208f.; Rodriguez-Abascal, Luis, ‘On the admissibility of group rights’, in Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 9, 2003, pp. 103ff.Google Scholar; Corlett, J. Angelo, ‘The problem of collective moral rights’, in Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 7, 1994, pp. 252Google Scholarff.; Brett, Nathan, ‘Language laws and collective rights’, in Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 4, 1991, pp. 353Google Scholarff.; Green, Leslie, ‘Two views of collective rights’, in Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 4, 1991, p. 323Google Scholar.

24 Jeremy Waldron, Liberal Rights, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993, p. 361. Examples of group rights are Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966; Articles 3ff. of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries; Articles 23ff. of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

25 Michael Hartney, ‘Some confusions concerning collective rights’, in Will Kymlicka (ed.), The Rights of Minority Cultures, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995, p. 203. For further references, see Peter Jones, ‘Group rights’, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2008 edition, available at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights-group/ (last visited 10 August 2010).

26 Section 432 of the German Civil Code, available in English at: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_bgb/index.html (last visited 12 August 2010).

27 European Commission on Contract Law, Principles of European Contract Law, Part III, Art. 10.201, Kluwer Law, Dordrecht, 2002, pp. 77ff.

28 General Assembly Res. 60/147, 16 December 2005, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (henceforth ‘Basic Principles’).

29 Ibid., ‘V. Victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law’, Principle 8 (emphasis added).

30 Ibid., ‘VII. Victims’ right to remedies', Principle 11(b).

31 Ibid., ‘IX. Reparation for harm suffered’, Principle 22(g).

32 See also Bassiouni, Cherif, ‘International recognition of victims’ rights', in Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 6, 2006, p. 261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

33 A similar commitment can be found in the preamble to the Basic Principles, above note 28, where the General Assembly points out that ‘contemporary forms of victimization, while essentially directed against persons, may nevertheless also be directed against groups of persons who are targeted collectively’.

34 UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Study Concerning the Right to Restitution, Compensation and Rehabilitation for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: Final Report, submitted by Mr. Theo van Boven, Special Rapporteur, UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/8, 2 July 1993, para. 14.

35 Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity, Addendum to the ‘Report of the independent expert to update the Set of Principles to Combat Impunity’, Diane Orentlicher, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, 8 February 2005.

36 Ibid., Principle 31, ‘Rights and duties arising out of the obligation to make reparation’.

37 Ibid., Principle 34, ‘Scope of the right to reparation’.

38 UN Commission on Human Rights, Report of the independent expert to update the Set of Principles to Combat Impunity, Diane Orentlicher, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2005/102, 18 February 2005, p. 18, para. 61.

39 Updated Set of Principles, above note 35, Principle 32, ‘Reparation procedures’.

40 See the comprehensive analysis by E. Schwager, above note 3.

41 See e.g. Article 41 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as amended by Protocol No. 11 and No. 14 (European Convention on Human Rights) of 4 November 1950; Article 63 of the American Convention on Human Rights, Adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights, San José, Costa Rica, 22 November 1969; Article 27 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and People's Rights.

42 Article 2 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General Assembly Res. 54/4, 15 October 1999.

43 European Convention on Human Rights, above note 41, Art. 34.

44 American Convention on Human Rights, above note 41, Art. 44.

45 Rome Statute of the ICC, above note 18, Art. 75(1).

46 Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICC, Adopted by the Assembly of States Parties, New York, 3–10 September 2002, Official Records ICC-ASP/1/3.

47 Ibid., Art. 97(1).

48 See e.g. Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan, Rights of the Victims: Reparation by International Criminal Court, APH Publishing, New Delhi, 2007, p. 25.

49 Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICC, above note 46, Rule 98(3), emphasis added.

50 IACtHR, above note 15.

51 Ibid., para. 164.

52 IACtHR, above note 19, para. 2.

53 Ibid., para. 43.

54 Ibid., para. 168.

55 Ibid., para. 194.

56 Ibid., para. 205.

57 Ibid., para. 214.

58 Ibid., paras. 216 f.

59 Ibid., para. 218.

60 IACtHR, The ‘Street-Children’ (Villagrán-Morales et al.) v. Guatemala, Judgment of 26 May 2001 (Reparations and Costs).

61 Ibid., para. 84.

62 Ibid., para. 103.

63 IACtHR, Trujillo-Oroza v. Bolivia, Judgment of 27 February 2002 (Reparations and Costs), para. 53.

64 Ibid., para. 122.

65 Additional indirect victims were the next of kin of José Carlos Trujillo Oroza.

66 IACtHR, El Caracazo v. Venezuela, Judgment of 29 August 2002 (Reparations and Costs).

67 Ibid., para. 66.

68 Ibid., para. 127.

69 See the section ‘Benefits’ above.

70 Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone, Vol. 2, ch. 4, ‘Reparations’, para. 27, referring to the Basic Principles, above note 28.

71 See South Africa, Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, Act 34 of 26 July 1995, Art. 1(xix), available at: http://www.info.gov.za/view/DynamicAction?pageid=545&sdate=%201995&orderby=act_no%20desc (last visited 10 August 2010). This Act is referred to by the TRC, above note 8, Vol. 6, Section 2, ch. 2, para. 5.

72 CAVR, above note 7, para. 10.1.2.

73 In particular, there are no further common bonds between the victims; no source of identity is destroyed.

74 CAVR, above note 7, para. 12.7; see also Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, Guatemala: Memory of Silence, Conclusions and Recommendations, Recommendations III, para. 11, available at: http://shr.aaas.org/guatemala/ceh/report/english/toc.html (last visited 10 August 2010).

75 See also Alston, Philip, ‘Conjuring up new human rights: a proposal for quality control’, in American Journal of International Law, Vol. 78, 1984, pp. 607CrossRefGoogle Scholarff.

76 Viola Wenzel, Das Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Gruppenschutz und Individualschutz im Völkerrecht, Springer, Berlin, 2008, pp. 27f.

77 Ibid., pp. 185ff.; see also Buchanan, Allen, ‘The role of collective rights in the theory of indigenous peoples’ rights', in Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 3, 1993, pp. 107f.Google Scholar

78 Imanuel Kant, Die Metaphysik der Sitten, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt-am-Main, 2005, p. 337.

79 An-Naím Abdullahi, ‘Human rights and the challenge of relevance: the case of collective rights’, in Monique Castermans-Holleman, Fried van Hoof, and Jacqueline Smith (eds), The Role of the Nation State in the 21st Century: Human Rights, International Organizations and Foreign Policy: Essays in Honour of Peter Baehr, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 1998, pp. 3 f.; J. A. Corlett, above note 23, p. 256; Jacobs, Lesley A., ‘Bridging the gap between individual and collective rights with the idea of integrity’, in Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Vol. 4, 1991, pp. 385CrossRefGoogle Scholarf.

80 V. Wenzel, above note 76, pp. 236ff.

81 On the remedial function of reparation, see e.g. Ethiopia–Eritrea Claims Commission, above note 2, para. 26; the passage cited refers to individual reparation.

82 Victor Espinoza Cuevas, María Luisa Ortiz Rojas, and Paz Rojas Baeza, Truth Commissions: An Uncertain Path?, Comparative study of truth commissions in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and South Africa from the Perspective of Victims, Their Relatives, Human Rights Organisations and Experts, Corporación de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo (CODEPU-Chile)/Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT-Switzerland), pp. 31ff., available at: http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?ots591=CAB359A3-9328-19CC-A1D2-8023E646B22C&lng=en&id=103018 (last visited 12 August 2010).

83 Keller, Linda M., ‘Seeking justice at the International Criminal Court: victims’ reparations', in Thomas Jefferson Law Review, Vol. 29, 2007, p. 212.Google Scholar

84 CAVR, above note 7, para. 10.1.4; see also Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, above note 74, para. 10.

85 Lisa Magarell, Reparations in Theory and in Practice, International Center for Transnational Justice, October 2007, pp. 5f., available at: http://www.ictj.org/static/Reparations/0710.Reparations.pdf (last visited 10 August 2010).

86 Stef Vandeginste, ‘Reparation’, in David Bloomfield et al., Reconciliation after Violent Conflict: A Handbook, IDEA Handbook Series, Stockholm, 2003, pp. 145ff.

87 Ibid.; see also L. M. Keller, above note 83, p. 213.

88 Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, above note 6, para. 2.2.1.3.

89 Ibid.

90 On the limitations of individual reparations schemes see N. Roth-Arriaza, above note 16, p. 181.