The International Journal of Restorative Justice


The return of cultural objects displaced during colonialism. What role for restorative justice, transitional justice and alternative dispute resolution?

Keywords alternative dispute resolution means, colonialism, restitution and return, Restorative Justice, transitional justice
Authors Alessandro Chechi
Author's information

Alessandro Chechi
Alessandro Chechi is a Senior Lecturer, University of Geneva and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Switzerland. Corresponding author: Alessandro Chechi at
  • Abstract

      This article focuses on the question of the return of the cultural objects displaced during the colonial era (hereinafter ‘colonial objects’) and of the dispute resolution means that may be used to achieve it. It starts by portraying the special significance of colonial objects for nations and communities. Next, it looks at restitution, as a facet of both restorative justice and transitional justice and as the most satisfactory form of reparation. It then examines the obstacles that claimants face when trying to recover colonial objects. Finally, the article argues that restitution claims should be resolved through procedures alternative to litigation, the so-called alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, because these mechanisms make it possible to achieve the objectives typically pursued through restorative justice and transitional justice processes, namely dialogue, truth, reparation and reconciliation.

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