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REPARATIONS FOR INHUMANE COLONIALISM – LOOKING THROUGH THE LENS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

By Suraj T.N.

Colonialism is a major part of our world’s history. It has not only deprived many states of several years of freedom, but it has also made many of them poor and underdeveloped. This gives birth to a very pertinent question- should states be asked to pay postcolonial reparations to their former colonies? Albeit international law has emphasized on decolonization and reparations, paying postcolonial reparations is a daunting task because of the ambiguity surrounding it. Firstly, there is no clarity over whether states are morally bound to pay postcolonial reparations. Secondly, there are a lot of practical problems that arise out of it. Thirdly, and most importantly, there is not much clarity over the legality of postcolonial reparations as laws must be applied ex post facto and the law of limitation will also become relevant. The paper examines these three ambiguous aspects from the context of transitional justice and establishes the argument that transitional justice will be served only when the law states that postcolonial reparations can be paid.

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