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2011 | Gentian Zyberi: The International Court of Justice and Applied forms of Reparation for International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations

In: Utrecht Law Review volume 7, Issue 1 (January) 2011

This article examines the case law of the International Court of Justice on reparations against states or individuals for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The right to reparations is firmly embedded in both international human rights and international humanitarian law, although its enforcement remains difficult.

The article deals with the question of who should be entitled to reparations, the state or the affected individual. The ICJ settles inter-state disputes, which implies that, generally, reparations would be made from the violating state to the harmed state. It is then for that state to dispose of its obligation to provide a remedy for injuries incurred byits citizens or persons in its territory. While the case law of the ICJconfirms the bedrock principle of international law, namely, that the wrongful state is under an obligation to make full reparation for the injury caused, a detailed analysis and a thorough discussion of reparation types and modalities are generally absent from ICJdecisions. 

Particular attention is paid to those ICJ decisions that do address the matter of to reparations owed to individuals. The article is divided according to the four types of reparations applied in those decisions, notably restitution, compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. While, as mentioned above, those decisions include only limited discussion about actual  implementation mechanism or modalities of reparations, the emphasis on the obligation to make full reparations for injuries, whether material or moral, caused by the internationally wrongful acts of a state, is present in each of them.