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Compensating victims of terrorism: Looking at it from the point of view of international law and national culture

Published on 01 August 2020
Updated on 05 April 2024

Today’s Guardian brings an interesting diplomatic issue into in the news: you can read it here. It raises a wealth of questions in international law but it also in national culture.

As an international diplomat, you may want to address issues in international law like:

  • Is a successor regime liable for the extra-territorial misdeeds of the previous one?
  • What does ‘sponsorship mean and who determines it?
  • Is a state liable for the misdeeds of terrorist groups by virtue of their presence in its territory?
  • If the victims are dead, who is entitled to monetary compensation?
  • How far does the entitlement go back in time or forward into the future? If so, who sets the cut-off dates?
  • How do determine the level of compensation, also in relation to national entitlements?
  • What of any antecedent military retaliation?
  • Does monetary compensation bring closure to the issue?
  • Who supervises the distribution of monetary compensation, particularly if the victims are from different countries?

These questions have been at the core of grievous conflicts in the twentieth century. Check for analogies and precedents. The list of questions is far from complete, so try to imagine yourself tasked with a just, rather than an expedient solution.

Beware: we deal here with principle issues, not an actual context. In other terms we would argue in ‘if statements’ like the EUSCJ does.

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