The entire world, nations, and citizens are acknowledging their pasts. Some of the remarkable incidents that illustrate how some nations have come to terms with their pasts include America with its dark heritage of slavery, South Africa with apartheid, and Germany with totalitarian regimes among others. In this evolving process of addressing the past issues, the compensation of victims has taken the forefront in the public dialogue. Some of the victims of past injustice include prisoners from the German Democratic Republic. This paper highlights the compensation present today and shows how it fits with the compensation theory and evaluates the efficiency of such a program in addressing the needs of the victims.
Compensation refers to the efforts required to address injustice. Some of the dimensions used in providing compensation include rehabilitation, restitution, indemnification, and legal acceptance of injustice among others. In this case, the perpetrator issues compensation to the victim. Most of the compensation cases often deal with the aspect of social responsibility to victims who in the traditional sense cannot be compensated because they are either not known or probably because the state committed the crime. The compensation of victims by society can be viewed or rather illustrated from various theoretical aspects. As unveiled by Boxill, some people believe that the government’s failure to compensate victims for the crimes committed may result in imbalanced compensation. Therefore, the failure of the law enforcement agencies to prevent crime denies the victims the right to receive their compensation for the crimes committed against them. Furthermore, Boxill (153-155) reckons that the government cannot be held legally accountable to the victim but instead morally answerable in easing the affliction of the victimized
Multiple compensation programs address the crimes committed by National Socialist Regimes since the culmination of World War 2. This section will briefly mention several programs but will majorly focus on the developments made since the year 2000. Between the 1950s and 1965, compensation laws and agreement established by Luxemburg and Israel agreed to compensate the victim’s compensation of roughly 55 billion euros. However, the effectiveness of these compensation schemes is arguable. Most of the compensations were issued based on the tediousness of duty instead of the severity of the crimes committed on the victims. As such, most of the forced employees were eliminated from the compensation process.
By the year 1944, Germany recorded a total of 7.6 million slaves. Most of these forced workers were assigned to work in industries as a substitute for the workforce that had been deployed on the battlefield. The work conditions in most of the industries were unfavorable, and most people fell sick, and some even lost their lives in their respective places of work. Since then, the first legislation to address the past injustices suffered by the workers occurred in the year 2000. The public international law considers compensation for unlawful employment of civilians as reparation. Germany has been able to offer more reparations than what her allies have ever provided to its victims, particularly before and after the occurrence of Potsdam.
The significance of compensating victims is to restore their financial status and provide a moral responsibility to them and their families. Since the end of the Second World War, Germany has established several compensation schemes and initiatives intended to reimburse the victims of war, rape and those harassed during the combat.
Boxill, Bernard R. Blacks and Social Justice. Rowman & Littlefield, 1992.