Practice Relating to Rule 150. Reparation
In 2010, in the Kaplan case, France’s Paris Administrative Court was called to rule on a matter of compensation related to art works despoiled in occupied France during World War II:
[T]he Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Despoliation received an application for compensation regarding … pieces of art that were deposited in the safe of a bank in Bordeaux in 1941. According to the inventory of the deposit, there were 151 pieces, including 78 paintings, and all of them were seized by the occupying forces on 15 March 1943, while three of them were returned after the conflict. [The applicants] allege that the commission should have assessed the amount of the damage caused by the despoliation … with regards to [the value of the property at the] date when the damage was assessed rather than its value as recognized in 1962 by the German government … [The applicants allege also that] the prime minister, by adopting [the assessment of the damage as] recommended by the commission, violated the principle of integral reparation.
[A]ccording to article 1 of the Decree [No. 99-778] of 10 September 1999: “… a commission is established before the prime minister with the mandate of reviewing individual claims submitted by victims or their legal heirs or assignees in order to receive reparation for damages following the despoliation of their property resulting from anti-Semitic legislation adopted during the Occupation by either the occupying power or the Vichy government”.
… This decree does not aim at ensuring the integral reparation of the damage, but rather at allowing the State to restore the balance destroyed by the damage in a fashion that appears to be the most exact possible and taking into account in particular the difficulties related to the long time elapsed since the facts, the diversity of the stolen property and the determination of its value.
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2004, France stated:
As the Permanent Court of International Justice stated in a famous passage: “The essential principle contained in the actual notion of an illegal act … is that reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act and reestablish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if that act had not been committed” [Permanent Court of International Justice, Factory at Chorzów, Judgment No. 13,
13 September 1928, Series A, No. 17
, p. 47].