Research Focus of Prof. Dr. jur. Bert Eichhorn:
Approach to a new Postwar Behavior in Direction of Minimal Justice and Political Legitimacy based on the Practice of Peace Treaties as Steering Instrument for Sustainable Peace.
Current Research Questions:
Can the German state practice in the field of reparations and compensation post-WW2 and especially after German reunification contribute to the further development of ius post bellum?
Can this aspect of German policy contribute to the transformative process of perpetuating international law into a cosmopolitan world community?
If so, what could constitute best practice? Which practices have been concluded on the basis of a legal obligation or, beyond that, on an ethical obligation?
What society-oriented concepts of justice have been used as a basis for this practice?
The foundation of my research is based on Eichhorn, Bert (1992). Reparationen als völkerrechtliche Deliktshaftung - Rechtliche und praktische Probleme unter besonderer Berücksichtigung Deutschlands (1918 - 1990), Nomos Verlag (Reparation as liability under public international law. Legal and practical problems, with a focus on Germany 1918-1990). The predominant view of war reparations has been (partially till now) as a politically motivated compensation to the victor. Focussing on Germany the dissertation proves that, based on the development of aggressor-liability after Versailles, claims for war damages have had a foundation in public international law from as early as the beginning of the Second World War.
The dissertation scrutinises the consequences of aggressor-liability for Germany after World War II and draws a distinction between the traditional concept of reparation and the so-called Wiedergutmachung (literally ´making good again´). The dissertation points out the paricular moral and political motives behind Wiedergutmachung and its overall significance, for both the period before and after German unification.
The dissertation of Günnewig, Compensation for the violation of the prohibition of violence as an element of ius post bellum (2019) (Schadensersatz wegen der Verletzung des Gewaltverbotes als Element eines ius post bellum), among others picks up my topic, add recent reparation cases and put it in an other context.
Günnewig´s work contributes to the discussion in international law about the conceptualization of a third strand of peacekeeping law - a ius post bellum. It is about reparations after the Second World War as Peace-Making Tool (Jus Post Bellum Principle). The question of how to make peace in periods of transition following war has become one of the main preoccupations of international law and practice since 1945. In this context the practice of reparations and the practice of peace treaty negotiations after Second World War can contribute to a concept of Global Justice of the International Legal Order.