Delivering reparations in practice

REDRESS works with national partners around the world to deliver effective reparations in practice. Through this work we ensure that survivors of torture receive the different forms of reparation that they are entitled to. These include satisfaction (including justice for their torture), rehabilitation, restitution, compensation, and measures to avoid the repetition of similar violations.  

Strategic litigation against torture can challenge impunity, hold governments accountable, and seek reparations for survivors, but often, the remedies and reparations ordered by courts and human rights bodies are not implemented. Despite the strong international legal framework on reparations, implementing those reparations in practice emains a significant challenge for civil society worldwide. This is due to many reasons, including reluctance from governments to implement reparations awards, the need for complex legal assessments, lack of enforcement mechanisms and scattered expertise on this area. 

Through this project, we will:   

  • Work with national partners to pursue strategic litigation for reparation on behalf of survivors of torture todemonstrate that justice and reparation for torture can be implemented in practice.
  • Strengthen reparations practice through practice notes on key areas of reparations, and by holding litigation workshops to develop specific cases and campaigns. 
  • Build a strong community of practice with a wide range of stakeholders, including academics, activists, practitioners, and advocates working on reparation.
Strategic litigation for reparation

REDRESS works with national partners to pursue strategic litigation against torture, which can have a broader impact beyond the individual case.    

Under this project we are working to implement reparations in several emblematic cases, including: 

  • The Azul Rojas Marín case, which concerns the torture of a transgender Peruvian woman by police officers in 2008, due to her sexual orientation. REDRESS is working with national partners to ensure the delivery of all the reparations ordered in her case by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, including compensation, a prompt and effective investigation of the facts, medical treatment and the adoption of non-repetition measures to tackle structural discrimination, such as a protocol on the investigation of violent acts against LGBTIQ+ persons.   
  • The Magdulein Abaida case, which relates to the torture of a Libyan women’s human rights defender by Libyan militias in 2012. REDRESS is working to secure the implementation of the decision in her case by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, including ensuring that she is compensated, and that Libya reforms its laws and policies to adequately protect women and human rights defenders from gender-based violence and discrimination committed by public officials and non-State actors. 

Other cases include those of Sudanese human rights defenders Amin Mekki Medani and Farouq Abu Eissa; Kamilya Tuweni, a UAE citizen who was tortured by Kenyan counter-terrorism forces, and the case of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court, in which we are promoting the prompt delivery of reparations to  victims in Uganda.

Strengthening reparations practice 

REDRESS has produced a series of practice notes on strategic litigation against torture, to support human rights lawyers and activists around the world to bring legal challenges against torture and obtain reparations for survivors.  

Our practice notes cover key topics such as Holistic Strategic Litigation against Torture, Implementation of Decisions, and Evaluating the Impact of Strategic Litigation against Torture. We are holding consultations with international experts, NGOs, and practitioners to identify good practices for reparations in torture cases which will inform several litigation workshops where we will work with national partners to develop individual cases to improve the practice of reparations.  

Following the consultations, we will publish additional practice notes on the practice of reparation, including: the scope of the right to reparations, survivor-centred approaches to reparations, effective investigations of torture as a form of reparation, and how to prepare effective compensation claims. 

Building a community of practice 

Through this work we will build an informal community of practice of human rights lawyers, advocates, academics, and practitioners working on delivering reparations, using our network of Solidarity Partners across the world. Through this community of practice, we will share information, exchange experiences, and engage on specific cases and examples of good practice.  

If you are interested in discussing the project, please contact our Legal Officers Renata Politi at [email protected] or Alejandro Rodriguez at [email protected].

Photo courtesy: Leopoldo García Lucero during a hearing of his case at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2011