Historical Injustices, Reparations and International Law

Completed in October 2016

Since the end of World War II, claims for reparations for historical injustices (including the Holocaust, the oppression of indigenous peoples in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, as well as the enduring legacy of slavery and institutional racism among African Americans) have become a central element of national politics and international diplomacy.

Investigating the Relevance of International Law

This project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), investigated the relevance of international law in relation to such demands for reparation.

While the topic of reparation has increasingly become the focus of scholarly interest, a holistic approach to this issue, combining theoretical notions of international law with considerations of practicality and morality, is still largely missing in the literature. This project intended to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive assessment of victims’ reparations claims in light of recent developments in international law. At the same time it payed special attention to the legal and moral dilemmas that may arise in the process of shaping and implementing reparations programmes – especially in situations of transition from civil war and dictatorship towards peace and democracy.


Picture of Frank Haldemann

Frank Haldemann

Co-Director of the Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Frank Haldemann's expertise and research focus on transitional justice, human rights and legal philosophy.

Picture of Rachelle Kouassi

Rachelle Kouassi


Conducted between 2011 and 2016, this research has involved two PhD projects: one of a normative nature, concerned with the legal foundations and limits of a right to reparation; the other more empirical, exploring the practice of reparation programmes. The results of the research have been published in a number of scientific articles, contributions and book chapters (see below).

Moreover, a number of workshops and conferences were organized to enable a wider scholarly debate related to the various research topics covered by the project.


UN Mission patrols disputed area in Sudan Short Course

Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict and Fragile Situations

13 April - May 2018

This course provides a concise and systematic treatment of the peacebuilding process in post-conflict and fragile situations. It adopts a holistic definition of peacebuilding that combines the socio-political issues with economic growth in a sustainable development perspective.

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Trial Chamber hearing in the Ayyash et al. case (Case STL-11-01) - 28 January 2016 Short Course

International Criminal Law: Case Law and Judicial Practice

12 April - May 2018

This course focuses on exploring the major themes of the case law of  the International Criminal Court and several other institutions in areas such as jurisdiction, substantive crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, terrorism), criminal responsibility and major procedural milestones in criminal proceedings.

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ICC Trial Chamber VIII declares Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime of attacking historic and religious buildings in Timbuktu and sentences him to nine years’ imprisonment Project

Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Started in January 2015

This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

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U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper, after the presentation of the report to the Human Rights Council September 27 by independent experts: Mr. Pablo de Greiff, Mr. Christof Heyns, Ms. Maya Sahli-Fadel. Project

Support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

Completed in January 2012

From 2012 to 2015 the Geneva Academy hosted the Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff.

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