Source: (2003) In John Torpey, ed., Politics and the past: on repairing historical injustices. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Pp. 103-114.

There is perhaps no more contentious issue in international human rights today, asserts Roy Brooks, than the question of reparations. Victims of injustice claim at least a moral right to reparations from the perpetrator government. Few governments accede to these kinds of demands. With respect to both sides in such situations, significant ambiguities and questions attach to the positions they have staked out. Brooks does not try to resolve the many difficult problems connected with the issue of reparations. Rather, he addresses three fundamental questions about reparations. Are some societies naturally disposed to commit evil acts? Can a theory of redress for acts of injustice be constructed? Is reparation the only form of redress for the perpetration of injustices? His aim in examining these three questions is to achieve a better understanding of the many worldwide campaigns for reparations. Thus he hopes to move individuals, groups, and governments closer to finding answers to the complex problems of reparations for injustices suffered. To make his engagement of these questions more concrete, he illustrates with specific examples of human rights injustices primarily from the twentieth century.