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About Reparation Law
What's Reparation Law?
The various forms of reparation law and their scope and content, covering both monetary and non-monetary reparations, may be summarized in its five forms consists restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. Reparation shall render justice by removing or redressing the consequences of the wrongful acts and by preventing and deterring violations.
The right to a remedy and reparation(1) for the breach of human rights is a fundamental principle of international law recognized in numerous treaty texts and affirmed by a range of national and international courts. The larger part of the Principles and Guidelines, with strong domestic law implications, sets out the status and the rights of victims, and corresponds to the title of the document as it refers to the right of victims to a remedy and reparation (in particular principles 11-23).
A core component of the Principles and Guidelines, denoting a broad range of material and symbolic means to afford reparation to victims, is laid out in the principles describing the various forms of reparation. They were formulated with the Articles on State Responsibility of the International Law Commission in mind.
The five forms of reparations are explained here below namely (1) restitution, (2) compensation, (3) rehabilitation, (4) satisfaction and (5) guarantees of non-repetition.
Restitution(2) refers to measures which ârestore the victim to the original situation before the gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law occurredâ (principle 19). Examples of restitution include: restoration of liberty, enjoyment of human rights, identity, family life and citizenship, return to oneâs place of residence, restoration of employment and return of property.
Offenders or third parties responsible for their behaviour should, where appropriate, make fair restitution to victims, their families or dependants. Such restitution should include the return of property or payment for the harm or loss suffered, reimbursement of expenses incurred as a result of the victimization, the provision of services and the restoration of rights. Governments should review their practices, regulations and laws to consider restitution as an available sentencing option in criminal cases, in addition to other criminal sanctions.
In cases of substantial harm to the environment, restitution, if ordered, should include, as far as possible, restoration of the environment, reconstruction of the infrastructure, replacement of community facilities and reimbursement of the expenses of relocation, whenever such harm results in the dislocation of a community. Where public officials or other agents acting in an official or quasi-official capacity have violated national criminal laws, the victims should receive restitution from the State whose officials or agents were responsible for the harm inflicted. In cases where the Government under whose authority the victimizing act or omission occurred is no longer in existence, the State or Government successor in title should provide restitution to the victims. (Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power)
Compensation(2) should be provided for any economically assessable damage, as appropriate and proportional to the gravity of the violation and the circumstances of each case (principle 20). The damage giving rise to compensation may result from physical or mental harm; lost opportunities, including employment, education and social benefits; moral damage; costs required for legal or expert assistance, medicine and medical services, and psychological and social services.
When compensation is not fully available from the offender or other sources, States should endeavour to provide financial compensation to:
( a ) Victims who have sustained significant bodily injury or impairment of physical or mental health as a result of serious crimes;
( b ) The family, in particular dependants of persons who have died or become physically or mentally incapacitated as a result of such victimization.
The establishment, strengthening and expansion of national funds for compensation to victims should be encouraged. Where appropriate, other funds may also be established for this purpose, including in those cases where the State of which the victim is a national is not in a position to compensate the victim for the harm.
Rehabilitation includes medical and psychological care, as well as legal and social services (principle 21).
Satisfaction includes a broad range of measures, including verification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth; an official declaration or a judicial decision restoring the dignity, the reputation and the rights of the victim i.e., the search for the disappeared, the recovery and the reburial of remains, public apologies, judicial and administrative sanctions, commemoration, and human rights training (principle 22).
Guarantees of non-repetition
Guarantees of non-repetition comprise broad structural measures of a policy nature such as institutional reforms aiming at civilian control over military and security forces, strengthening judicial independence, the protection of human rights defenders, the promotion of human rights standards in public service, law enforcement, the media, industry and psychological and social services (principle 23).
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Prospects:- International human rights treaties and instruments provide that victims of international crimes have the right to seek and obtain effective remedies for the violation of their rights. In honouring the victimsâ right to benefit from remedies and reparation, the international community keeps faith with the plight of victims, survivors and future human generations and reaffirms international law in the field...International Courts and Tribunals
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