Reparations under International Law for Enslavement of African Persons in the Americas and the Caribbean

Day 2


Streamed Friday, May 21, 2021.


Day 1


Streamed Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Reparations under International Law for Enslavement of African Persons in the Americas and the Caribbean



On Thursday and Friday, May 20-21, 2021, this symposium will discuss critical questions related to reparations for the descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the Americas and the Caribbean. Convened by Judge Patrick Robinson, Honorary President of the American Society of International Law, and featuring opening remarks by Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, experts from across the globe will discuss a range of topics, including:

  • What was the historical and social context for the business of transatlantic chattel slavery?
  • Was chattel slavery permitted, or prohibited, by the international law of the time?
  • How can the economic basis for reparations be assessed?
  • What are the possible remedies now for enslavement and its legacy? 
The University of the West Indies and the American Society of International Law invite you to join us for this important conversation. Organization of the symposium has been facilitated by the Center for Reparation Research at The University of the West Indies and by Blacks of the American Society of International Law Task Force (BASIL).

Note: All times below are given in Jamaica Standard Time, which is currently equivalent to the Central Time zone in the United States. (Jamaica does not observe Daylight Savings Time.)




Note: All times are given in Jamaica Standard Time, which is currently equivalent to the Central Time zone in the United States (EDT -1). (Jamaica does not observe Daylight Savings Time.)



1:00 pm (2:00 pm EDT):         Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Catherine Amirfar, President, American Society of International Law
  • Patrick Robinson, Honorary President, American Society of International Law; Judge, International Court of Justice

1:15 pm:         Opening Address: The Historical Context of the Business of Transatlantic Chattel Slavery

  • Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies
  • Moderator: Patrick Robinson, Honorary President, American Society of International Law; Judge, International Court of Justice

2:15 pm:         BREAK

2:25 pm:         Examining (il)legality of Transatlantic Chattel Slavery under International Law – Part I

  • Global Assessment of the Legality of Transatlantic Chattel Slavery:  Nora Wittmann, Author, Slavery Reparations Time Is Now: Exposing Lies, Claiming Justice for Global Survival – An International Legal Assessment
  • Transatlantic Chattel Slavery 1450–1550:  Mamadou Hébié, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University
  • Discussion moderator: Verene Shepherd, Centre for Reparation Research at the University of the West Indies

3:25 pm:         BREAK

3:35 pm:         Examining (il)legality of Transatlantic Chattel Slavery under International Law – Part II

  • Transatlantic Chattel Slavery, 1550-1815:  Parvathi Menon, Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki
  • Transatlantic Chattel Slavery, 1815-1888:  Michel Erpelding, Max Planck Institute for International, European, and Regulatory Procedural Law
  • Sexualized Practices and Institutions of the Slave Trade and Slavery:  Patricia Viseur Sellers, Kellogg College, University of Oxford
  • Discussion moderator: Gay McDougall, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice / Center for Race, Law and Justice, Fordham University Law School

4:50 pm:         BREAK

5:00 pm:         Global Quantification of Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery

  • Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies
  • Discussion moderator: Adrien Wing, University of Iowa College of Law

1:00 pm (2 pm EDT):         Global and Comparative Perspectives on Reparations

  • Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in Brazil: Humberto Adami, President, National Truth Commission on Slavery, Brazil
  • Remedies for Gross Breaches of International Law, with Particular Attention to Transatlantic Chattel Slavery: Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law; United Nations International Law Commission
  • Discussion moderator: Charles Jalloh, Florida International University; United Nations International Law Commission

2:00 pm:         BREAK

2:10 pm:         The Legacy of Enslavement—Contemporary Dimensions and Remedies

  • Reparations for Racial Discrimination Rooted in Colonialism and Slavery: E. Tendayi Achiume, UCLA; United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
  • The Claim for Reparations for the Tulsa Massacre of 1921: Eric Miller, Loyola Law School
  • Discussion moderator:Jeremy Levitt, Florida A&M University College of Law

3:10 pm:         BREAK

3:20 pm:         Concluding Address:  Contemporary Institutionalized Racism as a Breach of International Human Rights Norms

  • Philippe Sands, Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, University College London

4:05 pm:         BREAK

4:15 pm:         The Ascertainment of a Rule of International Law Condemning Transatlantic Chattel Slavery: Final Observations & Concluding Remarks

  • Patrick Robinson, Honorary President, American Society of International Law; Judge, International Court of Justice



  • E. Tendayi Achiume, UCLA; United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
  • Humberto Adami, President, National Truth Commission on Slavery, Brazil
  • Catherine Amirfar, President, American Society of International Law
  • Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies
  • Michel Erpelding, Max Planck Institute for International, European, and Regulatory Procedural Law
  • Claudio Grossman, American University Washington College of Law; United Nations International Law Commission
  • Mamadou Hébié, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University
  • Charles Jalloh, Florida International University; United Nations International Law Commission
  • Jeremy Levitt, Florida A&M University College of Law
  • Gay McDougall, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice / Center for Race, Law and Justice, Fordham University Law School
  • Parvathi Menon, Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki
  • Eric Miller, Loyola Law School
  • Patrick Robinson, Honorary President, American Society of International Law; Judge, International Court of Justice
  • Philippe Sands, Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, University College London
  • Patricia Viseur Sellers, Kellogg College, University of Oxford
  • Verene Shepherd, Centre for Reparation Research at the University of the West Indies
  • Adrien Wing, International and Comparative Law, University of Iowa
  • Nora Wittmann, Author, Slavery Reparations Time Is Now: Exposing Lies, Claiming Justice for Global Survival – An International Legal Assessment



DAY ONE: THURSDAY, MAY 20
  • Wittmann, Nora - An International Law Deconstruction of the Hegemonic Denial of the Right to Reparations (2019) [PDF]
  • Menon, Parvathi - Renegotiating Old Contexts - Presenting Past Encounters in the Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • Erpelding, Michel - Int'l Legal Status of Transatlantic Chattel Slavery After 1815 [PDF]
  • Viseur Sellers, Patricia - The International Crimes of Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Feminist Critique [PDF]
DAY TWO: FRIDAY, MAY 21
  • Grossman, Claudio - Int'l Law Commission - Programme of Work on Reparations for Gross Violations of Human Rights [PDF]
  • Grossman, Claudio - Rehabilitation in Article 14 of the Convention Against Torture [PDF]
  • United Nations Committee Against Torture, General Comment 3 [PDF]
  • Achiume, E. Tendayi - Reparations for Racial Discrimination Rooted in Colonialism and Slavery [PDF]
  • Achiume, E. Tendayi - Global Extractivism and Racial Equality [PDF]
  • Robinson, Judge Patrick - Robinson, Patrick - The Ascertainment of a Rule of International Law Condemning Transatlantic Chattel Slavery [PDF]