DDR and Reparations: Establishing Links Between Peace and Justice Instruments

  • Citation: De Greiff, Pablo. “DDR and Reparations: Establishing Links Between Peace and Justice Instruments.” Essay. In Building a Future on Peace and Justice, edited by Kai Ambos, Judith Large, and Marieke Wierda, 321–55. New York: Springer Publishing, 2009.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Keywords:
    • institutional reform
    • transitional justice
    • peace process
    • peace agreement
    • Social Science Research Council

Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (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 peace maker 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. The paper first briefly presents the facts of two cases, Rwanda and Guatemala, countries that have moved significantly farther regarding DDR than reparations. It then outlines some of the fundamental challenges faced by DDR and reparations programs, respectively. The next section presents conceptions of transitional justice and of DDR that facilitate seeing why implementing DDR programs but no reparations program is problematic. The argument capitalizes on and reinforces the trust-inducing potential of both DDR and transitional justice measures. If the argument is correct, a successful linkage of these measures will strengthen both DDR and transitional justice programs. Focusing on DDR, one of the main advantages this linkage offers to DDR programs is that it would help them mitigate one of the fundamental criticisms to which they have been subject, namely, that they reward bad behavior. The final section provides some comments on the role of the international community in DDR and reparations programs.

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