Pre-Planning for Post-Conflict Property Remedies: A Case Study from Georgia
George Washington International Law Review, Vol. 43, 2011
48 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2011 Last revised: 5 Aug 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2011
International law generally requires redress for people forcibly evicted from their homes because of war. Remedies such as restitution or compensation typically are implemented only after combatants reach a peace accord. Consequently, little attention has been paid to steps that one side of an armed conflict can take, prior to the resolution of the dispute, to preserve the property rights of displaced people and pave the way for a later remedy. This paper argues that there is value in pre-peace planning for post-conflict property remedies and proposes structural elements for such a planning effort. The contours of a pre-peace project to prepare for an eventual restitution or compensation scheme emerge through an analysis of the “My House” program launched in the country of Georgia to inventory homes abandoned because of still-unresolved secessionist struggles. Georgian officials did not intend My House to preserve evidence for a later restitution or compensation plan. Nonetheless, substantial modifications could make a similar, My House-styled program more constructive for a post-conflict remedial project that complies with emerging international legal standards.
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