Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version


The Unrealised Potential for Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Sierra Leone


Williams, Sarah, and Jasmine Opdam. 2017. “The Unrealised Potential for Transformative Reparations for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Sierra Leone.” The International Journal of Human Rights 21 (9): 1281–301.

Authors: Sarah Williams, Jasmine Opdam


The conflict in Sierra Leone was known for the scope and severity of atrocities targeted at civilians, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) mainly perpetrated against women and girls. Post-conflict initiatives included the establishment of a hybrid criminal tribunal, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC). However, neither possessed a mandate for reparations to victims, yet both have made some contribution to tranformation. The judgments and processes of the SCSL have provided a measure of recognition to victims of SGBV. The TRC was required to to pay special attention to the experiences of women and girls in respect of sexual violence and structural inequality. It also interpreted its mandate broadly, in particular to making general recommendations as to the position of women and girls, as well as more specific recommendations as to reparations projects. These recommendations addressed three aspects of gender justice based on Fraser (recognition, representation and redistribution) and offered considerable scope for transformative reparations for victims of SGBV, including through structural, legal and social changes intended to guarantee the non-repetition of sexual violence. However, this article argues that although several of the TRC’s recommendations had transformative potential, much of this potential has not been realised due to the failure of the government to implement those recommendations.

Keywords: Sierra Leone, reparations, truth commission, sexual and gender-based violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Justice, Reparations, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2017

Desafíos para la reintegración: Enfoques de género, edad y etnia


Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica. 2014. “Desafíos para la reintegración: Enfoques de género, edad y etnia". Bogotá, Colombia: Imprenta Nacional.

Author: Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica


Spanish Summary:

La Dirección de Acuerdos de la Verdad del Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica (CNMH) preparó esta publicación a partir de rescatar trabajos y elaboraciones realizados inicialmente por parte de las áreas de Desmovilización, Desarme y Reintegración y de Género y Poblaciones Específicas de la Comisión Nacional de Reparación y Reconciliación (CNRR) referidos a los enfoques diferenciales necesarios de abordar con relación al género y las mujeres, las etnias con referencia a los pueblos indígenas y las comunidades afrodescendientes y la edad en lo relativo a las niñas, niños y adolescentes. 

En conformidad con el mandato legal y la misión institucional de dicha Comisión, tales esfuerzos se orientaron a garantizar los derechos de las víctimas de graves violaciones a los derechos humanos ocurridas en los contextos de violencia y conflicto armado registrados en Colombia durante las últimas décadas, a desarrollar iniciativas de reparación en beneficio de las víctimas y la sociedad y a conseguir garantías de no repetición de tales violaciones (Summary from original source​).

English Summary:

Challenges for Reintegration: Focus on Gender, Age, and Ethnicity 

The Direction of Truth Agreements of the National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH) prepared this publication from recovered works initially produced in the areas of DDR and Gender and Specific Populations of the National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation (CNRR) referring to the differential focus necessary to address gender and women, ethnicities with reference to indigenous people and afro-descendant communities, and age with reference to girls, boys, and adolescents. 

In accordance with the legal mandate and institutional mission of said Commission, such efforts were oriented towards guaranteeing the rights of victims of serious human rights violations that occurred in contexts of violence and armed conflicts in Colombia over the last decades, to develop reparation initiatives benefitting the victims and wider society, and obtaining guarantees of non-repetition of such violations (Translation from original source​).

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Gender, Women, Justice, Reparations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Paramilitaries, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2014

The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations


Rubio-Marín, Ruth, ed. 2009. The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Ruth Rubio-Marín


"'Reparations programs seeking to provide for victims of gross and systematic human rights violations are becoming an increasingly frequent feature of transitional and post-conflict processes. Given that women represent a very large proportion of the victims of these conflicts and the authoritarianism generating them, and that women arguably experience conflicts in a distinct manner, it makes sense to examine whether reparations programs can be designed to redress women more fairly and efficiently and seek to subvert gender hierarchies that often antecede the conflict." "Focusing on themes such as reparations for victims of sexual and reproductive violence, reparations for children and other family members, as well as gendered understandings of monetary, symbolic, and collective reparations, The Gender of Reparations gathers information about how past or existing reparations projects dealt with gender issues, identifies best practices to the extent possible, and articulates innovative approaches and guidelines to the integration of a gender perspective in the design and implementation of reparations for victims of human rights violations.'--Jacket" (WorldCat).


Table of Contents:

1. Gender and violence in focus : a background for gender justice in reparations / Margaret Urban Walker --

2. The gender of reparations in transitional societies / Ruth Rubio-Marín --

3. Reparation of sexual and reproductive violence : moving from codification to implementation / Colleen Duggan and Ruth Jacobson --

4. Reparations as a means for recognizing and addressing crimes and grave rights violations against girls and boys during situations of armed conflict and under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes / Dyan Mazurana and Khristopher Carlson --

5. Repairing family members : gross human rights violations and communities of harm / Ruth Rubio-Marín, Clara Sandoval, and Catalina Díaz --

6. Tort theory, microfinance, and gender equity convergent in pecuniary reparations / Anita Bernstein --

7. Gender, memorialization, and symbolic reparations / Brandon Hamber and Ingrid Palmary --

8. Gender and collective reparations in the aftermath of conflict and political repression / Ruth Rubio-Marín

Topics: Women, Gender Analysis, Reparations, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Human Rights, Sexual Violence

Year: 2009

‘One Pair of Shoes, One Life’: Steps towards Accountability for Genocide in Srebrenica


Simić, Olivera, and Kathleen Daly. 2011. “‘One Pair of Shoes, One Life’: Steps towards Accountability for Genocide in Srebrenica.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 5 (3): 477–91. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijr020.

Authors: Olivera Simić, Kathleen Daly


On 15 July each year, Women in Black, an antimilitarist and feminist organization based in Belgrade, organize or participate in events in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to mark the anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. In 2010, in collaboration with a number of artists, Women in Black blocked the main pedestrian mall in Belgrade and, under police protection, laid out about 500 pairs of shoes given to them by Serbian citizens. Each pair represented the life and death of a person killed in the massacre, and each carried a handwritten message from the person who gave it. We analyse the meaning and significance of this campaign as a civil society mechanism of accountability and moral reparations. Although criminal prosecutions for war crimes in the Balkans have been taking place for nearly two decades, they have not been able to address the conflicts and animosities that persist in the region. We argue that by participating in ‘One Pair of Shoes, One Life,’ Serbian citizens have begun to take steps towards publicly accepting responsibility for failing to prevent the crime of genocide perpetrated in their name.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Genocide, Justice, Reparations, Transitional Justice Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2011

Citizenship Deferred: The Politics of Victimhood, Land Restitution and Gender Justice in the Colombian (Post?) Conflict


Meertens, Donny, and Margarita Zambrano. 2010. “Citizenship Deferred: The Politics of Victimhood, Land Restitution and Gender Justice in the Colombian (Post?) Conflict.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4 (2): 189–206. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijq009.

Authors: Donny Meertens, Margarita Zambrano


This article discusses the advancement and constraints of gender justice for women victims of armed conflict and forced displacement in Colombia, with special reference to land restitution. Women constitute the overwhelming majority of rights claimants under the 2005 Justice and Peace Law and their rights have been supported by rulings of the Constitutional Court. Government response, however, has been insufficient. Women's claims are part of a broader political debate on the limits of victimhood and the costs of reparation, in which the need for restitution of land is reluctantly acknowledged. Displaced women have been more vulnerable to violent land seizures and they face greater security risks than men when attempting to reclaim their land. In this context, what approaches can Colombia use in designing a gender-sensitive land restitution program that is transformative of gender relations? The authors argue that special protection measures, land deeds for women and better access to justice must be included in transitional justice processes as a means of fostering gender-equitable development.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Gender, Women, Justice, Reparations, Transitional Justice, Land grabbing, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2010

Reparations for Sexual and Reproductive Violence: Prospects for Achieving Gender Justice in Guatemala and Peru


Duggan, Colleen, Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey, and Julie Guillerot. 2008. “Reparations for Sexual and Reproductive Violence: Prospects for Achieving Gender Justice in Guatemala and Peru.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 2 (2): 192–213. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijn013.

Authors: Colleen Duggan, Claudia Paz y Paz Bailey, Julie Guillerot


Sexual and reproductive violence (SRV) perpetrated against women during war or under authoritarian regimes is one of the most severe manifestations of gender-based violence. The authors ask how governments in new or reforming democracies hope to repair SRV and how state programs for reparation might be conceptualized and delivered. By examining the cases of Guatemala and Peru, they explore the problematic of repairing damage caused by SRV and comment on prospects for redress to victims in each country.

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Reparations, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, Central America, South America Countries: Guatemala, Peru

Year: 2008

The Nairobi Declaration: Redefining Reparation for Women Victims of Sexual Violence


Couillard, Valérie. 2007. “The Nairobi Declaration: Redefining Reparation for Women Victims of Sexual Violence.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (3): 444–53. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijm030.

Author: Valérie Couillard


This paper explores the contribution of the Nairobi Declaration on the Right of Women and Girls to a Remedy and Reparation to the problem of delivering justice through reparation programmes for women victims of sexual violence in conflict situations. It highlights that this civil society initiative is particularly significant because it gives voice to women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence. Placed in the context of the recent adoption by the United Nations' General Assembly of the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, the Nairobi Declaration redefines reparation and guides policy-making to implement the right to reparation specifically for victims of sexual violence. The concept of reparation as a transformative and participative process put forward in the Nairobi Declaration constitutes its most innovative and inspiring contribution.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, International Law, International Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law IHL, Justice, Reparations, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2007

Women and Reparations


Rubio-Marín, Ruth, and Pablo de Greiff. 2007. “Women and Reparations.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (3): 318–37. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijm035.

Authors: Ruth Rubio-Marín, Pablo de Greiff


Reparations for victims of gross human rights violations are becoming an increasingly acknowledged feature in post-authoritarian and post-conflict societies coping with the legacy of a violent past. Despite some recent progress much more work needs to be done for massive reparations programs to respond better to the needs of women. This article, resting as it does on a comprehensive conception of reparations, outlines both the procedural and substantive components of reparations programs necessary for the programs to fulfill the goal of providing (partial) justice to women.

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, Reparations, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict

Year: 2007

Trying International Crimes on Local Lawns: The Adjudication of Genocide Sexual Violence Crimes in Rwanda's Gacaca Courts


Amick, Emily. 2011. “Trying International Crimes on Local Lawns: The Adjudication of Genocide Sexual Violence Crimes in Rwanda’s Gacaca Courts.” Columbia Journal of Gender & Law 20 (2).


Author: Emily Amick


During the Rwandan genocide sexual violence was used as a weapon of war to ravage a people. Women were tortured psychologically, physically and emotionally. For some women the “dark carnival” of the genocide has not ended. Living side by sidewith the men who committed violence against them, they must confront their past every day. This Article explores how, post-genocide, the country has come to adjudicate these crimes in gacaca. Gacaca is a unique method of transitional justice, one that calls upon traditional roots, bringing community members together to find the truth of what happened during the genocide and punish those who perpetrated violence. One scholar calls gacaca, “one of the boldest and most original ‘legal-social’ experiments ever attempted in the field of transitional justice.” Others, however, criticize gacaca for the impunity it grants to crimes committed by the current ruling party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), and its lack of due process and nonconformance to international fair trial processes. Most authors find that, for cases of sexual violence, gacaca is a wholly unsuitable forum.

Topics: Gender, Genocide, International Law, International Criminal Law, International Organizations, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against women, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2011

Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity


Durbach, Andrea, and Louise Chappell. 2014. “Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (4): 543–62. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.941251.

Authors: Andrea Durbach, Louise Chappell


As sexual violence in conflict – predominantly affecting women and girls – appears to increase in prevalence, gender justice advocates are calling for a reparations model that is not only restorative, but also, and more critically, preventative or transformative. This article asks whether the reparations mandate of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Trust Fund for Victims has the potential to address the pre-conflict structural inequalities that often contribute to the sexual violence and harm experienced during and post-conflict. Drawing on social theorist Nancy Fraser's model of trivalent justice and the ICC's first reparations decision in Lubanga, this article argues that the design of the ICC's court-ordered reparations mandate, and the unrealistic expectations it raises, may make it untenable to support the key transformative elements of recognition, representation and redistribution essential to addressing structural inequities contributing to conflict-related sexual violence. It suggests however, that modifying initiatives of the ICC's Trust Fund for Victims and a greater emphasis by the ICC on the notion of member state “reparative complementarity” may provide mechanisms for transforming conditions that trigger and perpetuate gender violence during conflict.

Keywords: conflict-related sexual violence against women, international criminal court, reparations, Nancy Fraser

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Organizations, Justice, Impunity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Sexual Violence, SV against women

Year: 2014


© 2020 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at

Subscribe to RSS - Reparations