Contributing to peace and justice. Finding a balance between DDR and reparations

Pablo de Greiff
| 2006

DDR programs have traditionally been designed and implemented in total isolation from transitional justice measures, of which reparations for victims is one kind. It is only recently that the approach that considers DDR as essentially a technical issue to be decided exclusively on the basis of military and security concerns with no regard for political or justice considerations has begun to be questioned. The incentives to try to bring the worlds of the peacemaker and of the justice and human rights promoter together, however, are manifold. The general aim of this paper is to construct an argument about the advisability of drawing links between DDR and reparations programs, not just because this is better from the standpoint of justice, but because it may help DDR programs as well. From a justice perspective, I will continue to grant significance to the fact that while in circles where DDR is discussed there is strong support for the idea that each and every ex combatant should be a beneficiary of a DDR program, there is, neither in the national nor in the international domain, a similar commitment to the idea that each and every victim of conflict should be made a beneficiary of a reparations program; I will continue to grant significance to the observation that the international community provides much more support for peace and security issues than for justice issues; and I will consider significant that of the 22 countries with ongoing DDR programs in a recent global study, programs involving 1.25 million beneficiaries and the expenditure of more than 2 billion dollars, a few have discussed the possibility of establishing reparations programs, but not one of these countries has implemented one. Ultimately, however, one way of seeing the nature of this paper is by considering that whether it satisfies its own end will be determined not so much by whether it successfully deploys justice considerations in the interest of justice, but whether it does so in the interest of peace.

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