Reparations in Transitional Justice: Justice or Political Compromise?
Human Rights and International Legal Discourse 17(1)
17 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2017 Last revised: 2 Apr 2019
Date Written: January 5, 2017
Reparations are often held up in transitional justice as a ‘victim-centred’ means of dealing with the past. Yet transitional justice has often been criticised for sidelining victims in peace negotiations or for other actors appropriating their voices for their own political ends. As a result, reparations in transitional societies can often be ‘transactional’, an exchange for concessions made to perpetrators, such as amnesties, or as ‘blood money’ for victims to forego pursuing accountability. This article explores how the political construction of reparations in transitional justice can come into conflict with understandings of reparations as justice based more in international law. As such, it argues that reparations in transitional justice have to be better conceptualised in balancing competing political and legal claims, as well as engaging with emerging debates on transformative justice.
Keywords: Reparations, transformative, transitional justice, victims
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