The right to a remedy and reparation for gross human rights violations – 2018 update to Practitioners’ Guide No 2

Under its Global Redress and Accountability Initiative, the ICJ has launched its 2018 update to Practitioners’ Guide No 2, outlining the international legal principles governing the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of gross human rights violations and abuses by compiling international jurisprudence on the issues of reparations. 

The Guide is aimed at practitioners who may find it useful to have international sources at hand for their legal, advocacy, social or other work.

Amongst revisions to the Guide, the 2018 update includes new sections on terminology and on non-discrimination;updated sections on the notions of ‘collective victims’, ‘collective rights’, the rights of ‘groups of individuals’; additional references to the work of the Committeeon the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child; an updated section on remedies for unlawful detention, including references to the 2015 UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Habeas Corpus; and updates on gender-based violence and on violations occurring in the context of business activities.  

The Guide first recalls the States’ general duty to respect, protect, ensure and promote human rights, particularly the general duty of the State and the general consequences flowing from gross human rights violations (Chapter 1).

It then defines who is entitled to reparation: victims are, of course, the first beneficiaries of reparations, but other persons also  have a right to reparation under certain circumstances (Chapter 2).

The Guide goes on to address the right to an effective remedy, the right to a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation and the right to truth (Chapters 3-4).

It then addresses the consequences of gross human rights violations, i.e. the duty of the State to cease the violation if it is ongoing and to guarantee that no further violations will be committed (Chapter 6). It continues by describing the different aspects of the right to reparation, i.e. the right to restitution, compensation, rehabilitation and satisfaction (Chapter 7).

While the duty to prosecute and punish perpetrators of human rights violations is not necessarily part of the reparation as such, it is so closely linked to the victim’s right to redress and justice that it must be addressed in this Guide (Chapter 8).

Frequent factors of impunity, such as trials in military tribunals, amnesties or comparable measures and statutes of limitations for crimes under international law are also discussed (Chapter 9).

Universal-Right to a Remedy-Publications-Reports-Practitioners’ Guides-2018-ENG (full text in English, PDF)

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