International Law Association: Background paper on Compensation for Victims of War by Rainer Hofmann & Frank Riemann

In May 2003, the International Law Association instituted a new committee on “Compensation for Victims of War” and gave it the following mandate:

Innocent civilians are often casualties during armed conflicts, whether or not intentionally targeted. Deprived of effective protection, they are often left without any remedy if they are killed or wounded, or suffer property or other losses. It is time to systematically review the law of war and human rights with a view to focusing on the rights of victims of war to compensation – both to serve the end of justice and to inhibit wanton attack on civilian populations by the military, whether or not under superior order. The proposed project would have as its goal the preparation and adoption of a Draft Declaration of International Law Principles on Compensation to Victims of War, as a logical sequel to three ILA declarations already adopted: namely, on Mass Expulsion, (Seoul 1986), Compensation to Refugees (Cairo 1992), and Internally Displaced Persons (London 2000). Underlying all these declarations is the principle the compensation must, under international law, be paid to victims of human rights abuses.

In doing so it was responding to an ever-increasing demand for scholarly work on the issue of compensation for civilian victims of war. This report aims at providing an overview of the development of the present state of international law and will point to some issues that are open to further development. The paper can be purchased via this link.