n Africa Insight - Can reparations for apartheid profits be won in US courts?

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


The campaign for apartheid reparations in the United States of America (US) courts at present is pitting black South Africans in the Jubilee and Khulumani organisations (as well as individuals) against three dozen multinational corporations and friendly governments in Washington, London, Berlin and Pretoria. The demand for reparations extends the logic of international antiracism solidarity campaigning, dating back to the sanctions era. Plaintiffs' use of the Alien Tort Claims Act extends a precedent set by Holocaust victims' descendants. The US justice system's conservatism is stretched, due to plaintiff appeals in 2008 reaching even the Supreme Court. And the change in South African (SA) government leadership may open up space to debate the critical questions: how to achieve justice from pro-apartheid corporations, and also disincentivise future exploitation in similar circumstances?

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