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Rectifying International InjusticePrinciples of Compensation and Restitution Between Nations$
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Daniel Butt

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199218240

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199218240.001.0001

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Compensation for Historic International Injustice

Compensation for Historic International Injustice

(p.97) 4 Compensation for Historic International Injustice
Rectifying International Injustice

Daniel Butt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines claims that compensation should be paid as a result of the lasting harm and benefit caused by historic injustice. It argues that present day parties who have benefited from the automatic effects of past wrongdoing may possess compensatory duties if others are still disadvantaged, insofar as the victims and beneficiaries are not in a state of moral equilibrium. It argues that any claims relating to compensation must make reference to some account of counterfactual reasoning in order to assess the degree of harm which has been suffered. The question of identifying the morally relevant counterfactual is something which has been frequently misunderstood, particularly in relation to exploitation. Having considered, and dismissed, objections stemming from the ‘non-identity problem’, the chapter concludes by putting forward a substantive defence of the claim that benefiting from injustice can give rise to rectificatory duties, even when the receipt of benefit is involuntary.

Keywords:   harm, benefit, moral equilibrium, counterfactual, exploitation, non-identity problem, involuntary, rectificatory

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