The Limits of Property Reparations

Gregory S. Alexander, Cornell Law School


In this very brief paper I suggest two reasons why reparations in the form of specific restitution for unjustly expropriated property should be awarded only in exceptional cases. Specific restitution is a unique form of reparations. It is neither the only nor the best means of recognizing the legitimacy of claims brought by the many victims of atrocities committed in the past half-century. The tragic fact is that no form of reparation can truly compensate those who have endured so much. We have only inadequate choices available to us.