Post-Conflict Housing Restitution

The European Human Rights Perspective, with a Case Study on Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Antoine Buyse

In armed conflict, the loss of one's house is often one of the most dramatic personal consequences. In fragile post-conflict societies, such a loss not only causes 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, identifying many of the stumbling blocks which can hamper restitution. It examines 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 analyzes 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 effective implementation. Intersentia is proud to announce that both Antoine Buyse and Gentian Zyberi won the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award 2008.~


439 pages

Publication Date: 2/21/2008
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9789050957700