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Pathways for Financing Reparations

Blog 23 June 2021

Date and time

01:00 01:00


Close-up of a pile of cash

Working paper examines new pathways for financing Reparations for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Over the past few decades, the world has made some progress in addressing the harms of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) through prevention and criminal accountability frameworks. However, little has been done in broadening these accountability frameworks to include reparations. Reparations are not only critical for the recovery and wellbeing of the survivors of CRSV, but they are also an essential part of the concepts and practice of justice. Looking from survivors’ perspective, criminal justice can provide a degree of satisfaction to the victims, but without reparations the circle of justice remains incomplete and exclusive.

One of the most frequent reasons for the failure to ensure the right to reparations for survivors of CRSV and other human rights violations at national and international levels is the perceived lack of financial resources.

GSF is therefore examining a variety of financing models to enhance access to reparations for survivors of CRSV globally. One of these models currently being explored is the repurposing of assets that are frozen and seized by the application of various counter-terrorism, human rights violations and anti-corruption sanction regimes at international and national levels.

Sanctions for terrorist activities, human right violations and increasingly corruption and kleptocracy are successful models for tackling them, and have proved to have effective preventative, corrective and, in some cases, punitive functions. These sanctions could also have restorative, restitutive and reparative functions. Expanding the existing sanction regimes in this way will demonstrate the commitment of the policymakers to embrace a truly survivor-centric approach and, more importantly, facilitate the financing of reparations.

In order to examine the policy and legal pathways for introducing reparative function to the variety of existing sanction regimes, GSF partnered with Hogan Lovells, Redress and Goldsmith Chambers in the production of a second volume of the Hogan Lovells and Redress report, Finance for Restorative Justice.

This second volume, presented in the form of a discussion paper builds on an earlier report produced by Hogan Lovells and Redress, a detailed opinion produced by the Goldsmith Chambers, and a Roundtable organised by GSF in March 2021, that brought together international law and reparations experts, academics, civil society organisations and advocates.

The second volume’s focus is on two issues which are critical for adding a reparative function to the existing sanction regimes, both of which have policy and legal dimensions. This discussion paper examines them from both aspects.

The first critical issue concerns the level of international responsibility for guaranteeing and financing reparations for survivors of CRSV and other human rights violations. In their deliberation on this matter, the authors of the paper examine the applicability of the provisions contained in the international humanitarian, human rights and treaty law and the obligations and authorisations which these provisions impose and confer to the states.

The second critical issue concerns the legal pathways for moving from freezing to confiscation and to repurposing of sanctioned assets and the necessary due process to ensure compliance with human rights and property law provisions and thereby enable seamless and streamlined use of sanctioned assets for reparations for survivors of CRSV and other human rights violations.

Although the paper presents some concrete recommendations, it is deliberately framed as a discussion paper. Its intent is to stimulate further dialogue among policymakers, experts and survivors’ advocates and pave the way toward policy changes as well as pragmatic actions based on the current frameworks.

The Global Survivors Fund and its partners will remain focused on the issue, continue the legal and policy analysis, and engage with policymakers to introduce changes and take actions in the interest of survivors.

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