Reparations provides redress to victims for crimes. Reparations can take many forms. According to Redress.org, the four main forms of reparations include restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition: “Restitution is designed to re-establish the situation which would have existed had the wrongful act not occurred. Compensation should be provided for any economically assessable damage which result from the act. Rehabilitation is to include medical, psychological, and other cares and services, as well as measures to restore dignity and reputation. Satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition includes verification of facts and full public disclosure of the truth; a declaratory judgment” 
Reparations at is based on a victim’s understanding of justice. International Criminal Court functions not simply to punish perpetrators of violence, but, also to protect victims against injustice. It is important to note that:
“The court has the option of granting individual or collective reparation, concerning a whole group of victims or a community, or both. If the court decides to order collective reparation, it may order that reparation to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims and the reparation may then also be paid to an inter-governmental, international or national organization.” 
This focus on the needs of victims by the court has led to the establishment of the Trust Fund for Victims. The TFV was created as a result of Article 79. This increased push towards victim recognition could be said to be associated with the significant shift in the perception of legal reparations from pre-world war II to now. The first major request for reparations came as a result of war. Pre-World War I, reparations had a connotation of payment by national losers to winners of conflict (Buxbaum, 319). Post-World War II, there was an increased recognition of the importance of individuals and collectives as recipients of reparations.
While reparations as outlined in the ICC do not appear in US criminal law, there is a history of reparations in the United States. The most pertinent case is US reparations for Japanese American internment. However, the word “reparations” is not used outside of this historical context in the US criminal system. There is, nonetheless, an established system of restitution in place within the US criminal justice system as well as allowances for compensation and civil damages.
Restitution is provided by those convicted of a crime to their victims. Upon conviction, the court has the ability to order the defendant to give restitution to victims, if he/she has the ability to pay. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime website, “restitution can cover any out-of-pocket losses directly relating to the crime.” Compensation is state sponsored and given by the state. Eligibility must be shown in order for compensation to be granted. In the US, restitution allows victims financial redress without applying while compensation and civil damages requires action victim participation. While compensation is not court ordered, civil damages is court ordered as a result of victims winning a lawsuit against the perpetrator in civil court.
The importance of reparations does not lie only in providing victims with opportunities to gain redress. The recognition of reparations as an integral aspect of justice demonstrates the importance and focus on victims in the criminal justice system, whether internationally or domestically. Reparations provides an impetus for restorative justice where the focus is not just punishing criminals, but also sincere attempts to bring back the victims to the status they had previously in some way.
Written by: Chinonye Alma Otuonye
Buxbaum, Richard (2005). A Legal History of International Reparations. Berkeley Journal of International Law, 23(2), 314-346.
Cullinan, Sarah (2001). Torture Survivors’ Perceptions of Reparation: Preliminary Survey. Retrieved from http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/TSPR.pdf
Goodwin, Catherine M (1998). The Imposition of Restitution in Federal Criminal Cases. Federal Probation. Retrieved from http://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/online-learning-center/supporting-materials/Imposition-of-Restitution-in-Federal-Criminal-Cases.pdf
International Criminal Court Web Portal. 2003. Web. 29 October 2015. Retrieved from http://www.icc-cpi.int/EN_Menus/ICC/Disclaimer/Pages/terms%20of%20use.aspx
National Center for Victims of Crime (2004). Restitution. Retrieved from https://www.victimsofcrime.org/help-for-crime-victims/get-help-bulletins-for-crime-victims/restitution
UN General Assembly, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), 17 July 1998, ISBN No. 92-9227-227-6, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3a84.html [accessed 27 October 2015]
 Cullinan, Sarah (2001). Torture Survivors’ Perceptions of Reparation: Preliminary Survey. Retrieved from http://www.redress.org/downloads/publications/TSPR.pdf
 International Criminal Court Web Portal. 2003. Web. 29 October 2015. Retrieved from http://www.icc-cpi.int/EN_Menus/ICC/Disclaimer/Pages/terms%20of%20use.aspx
 National Center for Victims of Crime (2004). Restitution. Retrieved from https://www.victimsofcrime.org/help-for-crime-victims/get-help-bulletins-for-crime-victims/restitution