Based on the growing international and academic interest on victim reparations as a mechanism of transitional justice, and the abundant literature that has emerged in the past few years, this article takes a step back to ask what is actually at stake with victim reparations and why. Through a discussion of the core issues and choices present in developing victim reparations initiatives, the elements of an analytical framework for the study of specific reparation programs emerge. The framework highlights the social and contested character of reparation programs, arguing that such programs be seen in relationship to the political projects they support.

Keywords: Victim reparations, transitional justice, victims’ rights, reparation programs, victimhood.