Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Research Handbooks in Human Rights series

Edited by Robert Kolb and Gloria Gaggioli

This fascinating Handbook explores the interplay between international human rights law and international humanitarian law, offering expert analysis on the increasingly complex issues surrounding their application in conflict areas across the world.

Chapter 30: Reparation for individual victims of armed conflict

Elke Schwager

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, terrorism and security


The last years have seen an impressive development in the discussion about reparation for individual victims of an armed conflict. Initially, the question as to whether individual victims are able to receive reparation for the violation of their rights was mainly reasoned before some courts on a case-by-case basis. Meanwhile, the topic has become institutionalised. Within the United Nations, the General Assembly adopted the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (Basic Principles and Guidelines) addressing that issue in 2005. In 2007, the Chicago Principles on Post-Conflict Justice were drafted by the International Human Rights Institute and other organisations. The International Law Association adopted in 2010 their Principles of Reparation for Victims of Armed Conflict (ILA Principles of Reparation). This development is a consequence, on the one hand, of the recognition of the individual as a direct participant and holder of rights under international law. On the other hand, there is the increasing acknowledgement that persons having suffered harm in the context of an armed conflict are very often not only incidental victims of unfortunate circumstances, but victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Additionally, there seems to be a growing awareness of the situation and the demands of persons having suffered harm in the context of an armed conflict and the need to address this issue. For the victims, the entitlement to reparation can be one way of obtaining justice.

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