Reparations in Transitional Justice: Justice or Political Compromise?

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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 side-lining 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 more international law understandings of reparations as justice. As such this article argues that reparations in transitional justice have to be better conceptualised as in balancing competing political and legal claims, as well as engage with emerging debates on transformative justice
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Rights and International Legal Discourse
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2017


  • reparations
  • victims
  • transitional justice


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