Source: (2004) Hastings International and Comparative Law Review. 27(Winter): 157-219.

Naomi Roht-Arriaza asserts that it is a basic maxim of law that harms should be remedied. All legal systems, including international human rights law, provide for redress of wrongs in some form – with restitution, compensation, and reparation being common legal means of redressing wrongs. Yet, few reparations have actually been paid in the wake of mass atrocities. Roht-Arriaza poses the question why there is this discrepancy between word and deed, between the legal acknowledgement of reparation and the actual payment of reparation. To address this question, she looks at difficulties in considering reparation for mass atrocities, legal guideposts and past practices that might be applicable to reparation in this context, and alternatives to court-ordered reparations.