REPARATIONS: REPARATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: HOW ARE REPARATIONS TO BE DETERMINED (PAST WRONG OR CURRENT EFFECTS), AGAINST WHOM, AND WHAT FORM SHOULD THEY TAKE? Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2003 University of Windsor
Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice

REPARATIONS: REPARATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: HOW ARE REPARATIONS TO BE DETERMINED (PAST WRONG OR CURRENT EFFECTS), AGAINST WHOM, AND WHAT FORM SHOULD THEY TAKE?

2003

22 Windsor Y.B. Access Just. 41

Author

Max du Plessis *

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

Around two centuries ago the anti-slavery movement of the 19<th> century campaigned to abolish the slave trade that had become a part of "civilised" European and American life. 1 While the anti-slavers and their movement achieved victory in their campaign to outlaw slavery and the trade, a new campaign is currently underway. That crusade -- driven by a group that I shall term "reparationists" -- is for compensatory justice for the acts of slavery committed in previous centuries. 2 The stakes in this crusade are high, and the issues are controversial. 3

This paper discusses reparation for slavery 4 as a vehicle for discussion about reparation claims for past injustices. The perspective is that of an international lawyer. In the context of slavery reparation, as is the case with many other contexts involving reparation claims for mass atrocities, international law principles are engaged and often expressly relied upon. As we shall see in the slavery context, for instance, African States are claiming reparation against Western States, and are casting their claims in the language of international law -- State responsibility, crimes against humanity, genocide -- and calling for reparation in the form of restitution, compensation, and/or satisfaction, terms that are reflected in the international law rules on State responsibility. 5

Although I express my doubts about the viability of a claim for reparation for slavery from within the current international law paradigm of State responsibility, a brief discussion of the ...
 
 
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