Historical Injustices, Reparations and International Law

Completed in October 2016

Since the end of World War II, claims for reparations for historical injustices (including the Holocaust, the oppression of indigenous peoples in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, as well as the enduring legacy of slavery and institutional racism among African Americans) have become a central element of national politics and international diplomacy.

Investigating the Relevance of International Law

This project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), investigated the relevance of international law in relation to such demands for reparation.

While the topic of reparation has increasingly become the focus of scholarly interest, a holistic approach to this issue, combining theoretical notions of international law with considerations of practicality and morality, is still largely missing in the literature. This project intended to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive assessment of victims’ reparations claims in light of recent developments in international law. At the same time, it paid special attention to the legal and moral dilemmas that may arise in the process of shaping and implementing reparations programmes – especially in situations of transition from civil war and dictatorship towards peace and democracy.

Research Team

This research project was carried out by Frank Haldemann and Rachelle Kouassi.

OUTPUT

Conducted between 2011 and 2016, this research has involved two PhD projects: one of a normative nature, concerned with the legal foundations and limits of a right to reparation; the other more empirical, exploring the practice of reparation programmes. The results of the research have been published in a number of scientific articles, contributions and book chapters (see below).

Moreover, a number of workshops and conferences were organized to enable a wider scholarly debate related to the various research topics covered by the project.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Portrait of Lindsey Cameron Event

The importance and the Limits of International Law for Resolving Humanitarian Issues in Situations of Armed Conflict and Transitional Justice

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Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspective on a Career in International Law

September 2019, 12:30-14:00

This event, co-organized with the ATLAS Network will feature prominent women in international law. Coming from different professional backgrounds, they will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

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Ntaganda case: Closing statements.  The closing statements in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) started on 28 August 2018 before Trial Chamber VI at the seat of the Court in The Hague (Netherlands). Short Course

The Challenges of International Criminal Justice

9- January 2020

This short course intends to provide participants with a solid understanding of the existing pluralistic system of international accountability for international crimes and of its main challenges.

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Al Mahdi case: ICC Trial Chamber VIII issues reparations order, 17 August 2017 Short Course

International Criminal Law: General Principles and International Crimes

14- November 2019

This short course reviews the origins of international criminal law, its relationship with the international legal order including the UN Security Council and its coexistence with national justice institutions. The scope of international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression – is considered alongside initiatives to expand or add to these categories.

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Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

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This research project aimed to clarify the multiple facets of post-conflict peacebuilding.

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ICC Trial Chamber VIII declares Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime of attacking historic and religious buildings in Timbuktu and sentences him to nine years’ imprisonment Project

Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Started in January 2015

This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

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