Beyond Attribution: Responsibility of Armed Non-State Actors for Reparations in Northern Ireland, Colombia and Uganda
In Responsibilities of the Non-State Actor in Armed Conflict and the Market Place: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Findings, N. Gal-Or, C. Ryngaert, and M. Noortmann (eds.), Brill 2015.
19 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2013 Last revised: 24 Feb 2015
Date Written: June 14, 2013
This paper explores the responsibility of armed non-state actors for reparations to victims. Traditionally international law has focused on the responsibility of the state, and more recently the responsibility of convicted individuals before the International Criminal Court, to provide reparations for international crimes. Yet despite the prevalence of internal armed conflict over the past few decades, there responsibility of armed groups for reparations has been neglected in international law. Although there is a tentative emerging basis for armed groups to provide reparations under international law, such developments have not yet crystallized into hard law. However, when considering the more substantive practice of states in Northern Ireland, Colombia and Uganda, a greater effort can be discerned in ensuring that such organizations are responsible for reparations. This paper finds that not only can armed non-state actors be held collectively responsible for reparations, but due to the growing number of internal armed conflict they can play an important role in ensuring the effectiveness of reparations in remedying victims’ harm. Yet, finding armed groups responsible for reparations is no panacea for accountability, due to the nature of armed conflicts, responsibility may not be distinct, but overlapping and joint, and such groups may face difficulties in meeting their obligations, thus requiring a holistic approach and subsidiary role for the state.
Keywords: Reparations, non-state actors, Northern Ireland, Colombia, Uganda, international law
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