Tuesday 15th November 2016 4.30pm, Rendall Building, Lecture Theatre 1
Shifting Sands: From collective reparations to individual reparations and back
Do we act as individuals or as groups? Do we fundamentally regard ourselves as individuals (who are responsible for our own fate and act autonomously) or as collectivities? These are the core questions explored by Philippe Sands in his recent play ‘A Song of Good and Evil’ and his new book East West Street in which he juxtaposes the personalities and work of Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin. Lemkin’s focus is on ‘group victims’. He described acts of genocide as acts ‘directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of national groups’. In developing the concept of ‘crimes against humanity’ Lauterpacht held the view that what matters is that victims suffer as individuals. In my paper I will draw from Sands’ work to develop a theory on whether, in the context of mass atrocity, victims suffer individually or collectively and the implications of this question for the reparations regime of the ICC and other reparations programmes. I will consider the critique the current practice of the ICC which focuses on making reparations of the collective kind.