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Post-Conflict Housing Restitution

The European human rights perspective, with a case study on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Book | 1st edition 2008 | United Kingdom | Antoine Buyse

Awarded with the Erasmus Research Prize 2008 and the Max Van der Stoel Human Rights Award 2008

The loss of one’s house is often one of the most dramatic personal consequences of armed conflict. In fragile post-conflict societies such a loss does not only cause a flow of refugees and other displaced persons, but it can also be a source of renewed conflict. Restitution of housing could help to solve these problems and thus help to attain peace and to rebuild the rule of law. This study focuses on the legal aspects of restitution. Its purpose is to identify the stumbling blocks which in many cases hamper restitution. Thus, the main research question is how the right to housing and property restitution for refugees and other displaced persons can be secured more effectively in European post-conflict situations.
The study is structured around three requirements for the effectiveness of a legal norm: its normative clarity, the operational framework which supports the norm, and the political will or consensus, among the main actors involved, to implement the norm. Throughout, the main perspective is the European Convention on Human Rights within the broader context of public international law and human rights law. First, the issue of the existence and content of a right to housing restitution is elaborated upon. Secondly, specific challenges in the institutional sphere are addressed. Thirdly, the research focuses on the application of housing restitution in practice, by way of a case study. It analyses how restitution was implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the wake of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. The study concludes with a set of specific recommendations for the effective implementation of the right to housing restitution in post-conflict states.

About this book:
'[...] the study is a definitive must [...]. A perfect balance between theory and practice.'
Christine Janssens and Asja Serdarevic in Human Rights & International Legals Discourse 2009 (119).

'[...] a very meaningful contribution to the global debate on restitution [...]. […] a very worthy work and one that should be read by everyone within the Global Restitution Movement [... ].'
Scott Leckie in the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights 2010 (137).

‘[…] a valuable contribution to the transitional justice canon. [...] and in ways too numerous to capture here, [it] advances the conversation in significant ways and expands the promise of reparations as tools of justice.’
David Gray in the International Journal of Transitional Justice 2010 (296.

Technical info
More Information
Type of product Book
Format Paperback
EAN / ISSN 9789050957700
Series name Human Rights Research Series
Weight 775 g
Status Available
Number of pages xvi + 440 p.
Access to exercice No
Publisher Intersentia
Language English
Publication Date Feb 21, 2008
Available on Jurisquare No
Available on Strada Belgique No
Available on Strada Europe No
Available on Strada Luxembourg No


  • Table of Contents
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
  • Chapter 2. Respect for the Home
  • Chapter 3. The Protection of Property
  • Chapter 4. Non-Discrimination and Minority Rights
  • Chapter 5. Restitution as a Remedy for Human Rights Violations
  • Chapter 6. Housing Restitution as a Right on its Own?
  • Chapter 7. The Right to Housing Restitution in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Chapter 8. Elements of an Operating System for Housing Restitution
  • Chapter 9. A Lifeline in Time? Non-Retroactivity and Continuing Violations under the ECHR
  • Chapter 10. Beyond their Grasp? Territorial Scope of the ECHR
  • Chapter 11. The Operating System for Housing Restitution in Post-Dayton Bosnia
  • Chapter 12. Housing Restitution in Practice
  • Chapter 13. Conclusion
  • Samenvatting (summary in Dutch)
  • Résumé (summary in French)
  • Sažetak (summary in Bosnian)
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Curriculum vitae