Providing Reparation in Situations of Mass Victimization - Key Challenges Involved
Letschert, Haveman, De Brouwer, Pemberton, Victimological Approaches to International Crimes, Intersentia 2011
32 Pages Posted: 1 May 2013
Date Written: April 29, 2011
An abundance of scholarly literature exists on reparation theories and legal procedures or administrative programmes set up to provide reparation to victims of mass atrocities or international crimes, oft en also referred to as gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. This article aims to provide an analysis of what we consider to be the main challenges to carefully consider when devising and implementing reparative justice measures, whereby the focus is on victims of international crimes leading to mass victimization. In all regions and countries violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms occur and victims should be entitled to redress and reparation. The focus is on situations involving gross and massive violations of human rights, often amounting to crimes under international law as defined in the Statute of the ICC.
A first challenge is how to conceptualize victimhood in post-conflict situations. As noted by ani “conflict or repression is often so widespread and traumatising that the entire society is victimised, and there is a need to redefine victims as the entire society’’ (Mani 2005, 68). The conception on who should be considered victims in societies in transition poses several complexities that will be further reflected upon.
The second challenge is how to adapt the existing judicial right to an effective individual remedy to the context of mass victimization where it is often claimed that collective reparations might be better suited to provide reparative justice (Roht-Arriaza 2003-2004; Van Boven 1995). Implementing a collective perspective may also result in including general goals of development aid in reparative measures. The third challenge will reflect upon this, by some contested, inclusion of development strategies in reparation programmes (De Greiff & Duthie 2009; Saris & Loft s 2009). In order to present arguments on how to balance this individual versus collective perspective and the inclusion of development goals, we will draw from victimological studies into the needs of victims and notions presented by the human security concept.
We realize that providing reparative justice to victims of international crimes requires tailor-made solutions in which the specific (historical, cultural and economic) context of the country should be taken into account. That being said, we do believe that the challenges discussed in article apply in general to situations of mass victimization.
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