War Reparations and Individual Claims in the Context of Polish-German Relations
In international law there is no uniform and legally binding definition of the complex concept of war reparations. To avoid confusion, their legal basis as well as their scope and form must be clarified.
The treaty regulation after World War II did not contain explicit provisions regarding individual claims for systematic and widespread crimes against humanity, war crimes and persecution. These claims have become the subject of separate negotiations with Germany (Wiedergutmachung) and cannot be treated as part of the reparations described in the Potsdam Agreement.
Despite some progress, pursuing individual claims against a foreign state for compensation for war crimes or crimes against humanity has a limited legal basis in international law. In practice, the tendency is to settle these claims via the state on the basis of separate agreements.
The waiver by the state of individual claims of its subjects is confirmed in international practice and is acceptable. However, it is desirable to specify the scope of the waiver and, in this context, to ensure a balance between the protection of human rights and individual interests on the one hand and the general interest on the other.