Tort Theory, Microfinance, and Gender Equality Convergent in Pecuniary Reparations

Authored by: Anita Bernstein

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Economic Recovery, Political Transitions, Transitional Justice
Region: No Region
Year: 2009
Citation: Bernstein, Anita. "Tort Theory, Microfinance, and Gender Equality Convergent in Pecuniary Reparations." In The Gender of Reparations: Unsettling Sexual Hierarchies While Redressing Human Rights Violations, edited by Ruth Rubio-Marin, 291-323. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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Executive Summary

This paper uses tort theory to defend monetary payments as a constituent of national repair. It states that paying money to victims comports with feminism too. The paper argues in favor of microfinance as the preferred mode for transitional governments designing new national reparations programs. The paper states that reparations are measures that provide benefits to victims directly. Tort law aspires to integrate wrongs and rights through the disbursement and receipt of money. This monetary acknowledgement honors the victims' experience, augments their agency, helps increase their security and freedom, and invites them into the emergent civil society. By themselves, pecuniary reparations do not provide the truth or a promise of non-recurrence. It does, however, recognize a wrong, and demonstrates an ambition to change current conditions. The paper concludes that: pecuniary reparations ought to take the form that best advances the agency, recognition, security and freedom of injured citizens; simple cash transfer payments are too easy for a recipient to forfeit, alienate, and lose; establishing each recipient as shareholder of a financial institution is the best way to compensate victims for past wrongs.