Reparations for ‘Guilty Victims’: Navigating Complex Identities of Victim-Perpetrators in Reparation Mechanisms

International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol. 10(1), p. 146-167, 2016. DOI: 10.1093/ijtj/ijv030

Queen's University Belfast Law Research Paper

34 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2015 Last revised: 19 Jan 2018

See all articles by Luke Moffett

Luke Moffett

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law

Date Written: December 2, 2015

Abstract

Reparations are often declared victim-centred, but in transitional societies defining who is a victim and eligible for reparations can be politically charged and controversial. The messy reality of conflict means that perpetrators and victims do not always fall into two separate categories. In certain circumstances, perpetrators can be victimized and victims can be responsible for victimizing others – this article explores these complex victims. Looking in particular at the 1993 Shankill bombing in Northern Ireland, as well as at Colombia and Peru, such victims are often seen as ‘guilty’ or ‘bad’ victims undeserving of reparations. I argue that complex victims need to be included in reparation mechanisms to ensure accountability and to prevent their exclusion becoming a source of victimization and future violence. I consider the alternative avenues of human rights courts, development aid, services and community reparations to navigate complex identities of victim–perpetrators. I conclude that complex identities can be accommodated in transitional societies’ reparation programmes through nuanced rules of eligibility and forms of reparations.

Keywords: reparations; victimhood; responsibility; transition justice

Suggested Citation

Moffett, Luke, Reparations for ‘Guilty Victims’: Navigating Complex Identities of Victim-Perpetrators in Reparation Mechanisms (December 2, 2015). International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol. 10(1), p. 146-167, 2016. DOI: 10.1093/ijtj/ijv030, Queen's University Belfast Law Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2698425

Luke Moffett (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Main Site Town, University Square
Belfast, BT 7 1NN
United Kingdom

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