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Compensation for the Victims of September 11

Issacharoff, Samuel
June 4, 2015

Source: (2006) In Pablo De Greiff, ed., The Handbook of Reparations. Oxford, New York, USA: Oxford University Press. Pp. 284-320.

“The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund can only hesitatingly find its place within a comprehensive study of reparations programs. While the origin of the Fund arguably lies in the political exigencies surrounding a perceived threat to the security of the USA, it more accurately reflects the desire by the US Congress to ensure the viability of its nation’s air carriers. Unlike traditional reparations, which are closely related to a process of social reintegration of the victim, fostering civic trust and social solidarity, the Fund was not established to bring justice to the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Also unlike traditional repartions, the Fund did not seek to serve as a mechanism of corrective or conflict. Rather, it was initially created out of fear that recourse to the US courts would threaten the precarious financial health of the airline industry. Implicitly, however, such pragmatism reflected by lawmakers that the government be seen as doing all it could to ease the pain of those who suffered so greatly on September 11, 2001. Initial motivations for the program aside, however, there is no question that the compensation scheme has since taken on a life of its own. Ultimately, the Fund’s contribution to any reparations case study lies in its cautionary tale about the creation of elaborate administrative schemes that try to individualize recoveries as the mechanisms through which to compensate victims.” (excerpt)


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