Friday, November 22, 2019

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E. Adequate Evidence to Document the African Injury

Underlying the issue of the nonjusticiable question doctrine and of litigation generally is the ability of the African states to adequately document the injuries sustained from centuries of slavery and colonization. Not only must the African states locate those companies that profited from the slave trade that are still in existence, but they must also obtain whatever documentation may still exist of the numbers and origins of slaves transported to the New World. Obviously, slave traders and slave owners in the new world would not have kept detailed records of the identities and origins of their property. Even if such records did exist, they most likely would not have withstood the passage of time. However, the African states should argue that equitable doctrines should prevent the slave-trading states from continuing to prosper from their lack of diligent record keeping. At the very least, the African states could pursue their objective of debt forgiveness by claiming that the accumulated national debts of their countries is a rough approximation of the damage sustained at the hands of Imperial Europe.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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