2013 | Amsterdam International Law Clinic (University of Amsterdam) and Center for Civilians in Conflict in Washington DC Report
How much is a life worth? While it is impossible to put a price on life, there is an important conversation to be had around the various levels of payment offered to victims of violence in response to their losses. The various reparations schemes currently in operation around the world are not all based on a legal obligation. They may be prompted by a sense of ethical obligation, a wish to demonstrate solidarity with the victims or, on the other hand, the goal of some strategic advantage such as engendering the goodwill of a local population towards foreign 'TNC's (troop-contributing nations) attempting to provide security in a conflict zone. These disparate motivations make it virtually impossible to identify a developing body of State practice such as is necessary to consolidate international customary law. For this reason it is extremely important to begin mapping all significant activity in the area of reparations for harm to civilians in conflict, in the hope that acceptable standards may gradually be discerned and supported.
This report maps various programs and their implementation in settings of armed conflict and in response to serious crimes and terrorist attacks. The report aims to analyze and evaluate the consistencies and inconsistencies in current practice in providing monetary payments, both in respect of the amounts paid and of the motivations and methodologies used by the entities offering the payments.