We have been struck by the extent to which the interviewees ignored the fact that they may be entitled to receive reparations for the suffering they endured. The answer to our questioning why Darfurians wanted to participate as victims in the ICC proceedings was that they “wanted justice.” Not one person ever suggested to us that they were motivated by a desire to get something tangible in return.
At the same time, these victims, potential victims, and the intermediaries who introduced them to us often spoke of lost crops, animals, land, and sense of community. We know that the prevailing norms for reparations involve restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition. As lawyers with an understanding of human rights and humanitarian law, this work has prompted us to think about the fact that reparations are considered vital to traditional durable solutions for refugees, i.e., voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement. We are not convinced that present legal or political thought on reparations takes into account the type of loss of community and culture with which the Darfurian Diaspora is dealing. As the shape of reparations at the ICC is in the early stages, this project can function as a catalyst for developing a deeper approach to these issues.