Closing the gap: Symbolic reparations and armed groups

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29 Scopus citations


The question of whether non-state armed groups could and should provide reparations to their victims has been largely overlooked. This article explores this gap, with a particular focus on symbolic reparations, such as acknowledgement of the truth and apologies. It argues that, while the question is fraught with legal, conceptual, and practical difficulties, there are some circumstances in which armed groups are capable of providing measures of reparations to their victims. The article identifies the issue of attacks on informers as one potential area for armed groups to provide such measures, and demonstrates that in a few cases armed groups have already engaged in actions that could be seen as analogous to symbolic reparations. The article's main case study is provided by recent actions by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in relation to its past attacks against suspected informers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-808
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Review of the Red Cross
Issue number883
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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