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Law and policy on post-conflict restitution

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This chapter takes a critical stance on the relationship between law and policy in the area of post-conflict housing restitution. The Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy are examined; and particular attention is paid to the Pinheiro Principles. Judged against such best practice policy guidance, the failure of international human rights courts and tribunals to recognise a free-standing right to restitution might seem problematic. However, the chapter argues that the state of the law is more complex that it appears; and identifies that the ‘legal’, corrective approach to restitution embodied in the Pinheiro Principles has, in any event, fallen out of favour. Instead, the complex and occasionally non-ideal findings of, in particular, the European Court of Human Rights show that a more flexible, arguably transitionally relativist, approach is sustainable.