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close this bookLaw in Humanitarian Crises Volume I : How Can International Humanitarian Law Be Made Effective in Armed Conflicts? (European Commission Humanitarian Office)
close this folderThe Laws of War: Problems of Implementation in Contemporary Conflicts
close this folderV. Summary and Conclusions
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Realist and Idealist Images of the Laws of War
View the document2. Still a World of States
View the document3. Humanitarianism as a Substitute for Policy
View the document4. Application to Non-International Conflicts
View the document5. Mines
View the document6. Limits of Compliance Provisions
View the document7. Trials
View the document8. International Criminal Court
View the document9. Reparations
View the document10. The United Nations
View the document11. Barbarians?
View the document12. A Set of Professional Military Standards?
View the document13. Need to Keep Our Own Houses in Order
View the document14. The Relation between Ius in Bello and Ius ad Bellum
View the document15. Taking Implementation Seriously

9. Reparations

The whole question of post-war reparations as a form of sanction requires careful reconsideration. Reparations, as in the case of those demanded from Iraq since 1991, are usually demanded from a state which has lost a war on the grounds of its responsibility for the outbreak of the war. They thus relate more to ius ad bellum than ius in bello, but may encompass an element of the latter. They have merits, including the fact that they involve a clear concept of state responsibility, and can sometimes be fixed relatively quickly in negotiations between the states concerned.

Is it wise to demand reparations, especially in the extreme form of payment for the entire costs of all damage caused by the war, and in cases where the repayment process would last for decades? The historical precedents of reparations are mixed. If reparations are seen as unfair, or are seen as part of a more general policy of economic strangulation and the cause of complete economic collapse, they may backfire. The case for reparations may be stronger in cases where the sanctions are applied at the same time as a credible assurance is given that they will be lifted as soon certain reasonable conditions are met.