Laches is the common-law name for the concept more commonly known as "the statute of limitations."[*] The idea is that, if a wrong has been done, or there is otherwise a dispute, we put a limit on the time within which the victim or the victim's estate can file charges or sue for damages. Laches or statutes of limitations apply to practically all kinds of wrongs of any nature. There are three strong reasons for setting time limits on redressing wrongs:
(1) Memories fade, witnesses die, and evidence is degraded or destroyed, rendering the rights and wrongs of the case increasingly uncertain and susceptible to biased propaganda.
(2) Security, confidence in, and stability of legal rights are crucial to a civilized legal system. But if we go back far enough, the "chain of title" for almost every legal right we have (including our political as well as economic rights) can be plausibly argued to be illegitimate due to some kind of unredressed wrong: some commission of force or fraud that was never remedied. Without a time limit, hardly any legal right of almost any kind could be held with legal security.
(3) Having the estate of one person be responsible to the estate of another person for a wrong committed by the ancestor of one to the ancestor of the other gets us too far away from the individual responsibility and the shaping of behavior through incentives that is at the core of law.
Laches should also be a core political principle. Allowing some classes of citizens to extract "reparations" from other classes of citizens for harms done by some or many of the ancestors of members of one class to some or many of the ancestors of another class, without setting any time limits, renders the legal rights of all persons insecure. Evaluations of ancient wrongs are susceptible to very distorted propaganda. Punishments of individuals who did not commit the wrongs do not deter the recurrence of such wrongs in the future, and indeed are themselves wrongs that foster further resentment and breed more future claims for redress. The moral imperative holding the members of one very imperfectly defined class, rather than persons who actually committed the wrongs, for the wrongs committed to some of the members or ancestors of another class, already doubtful, becomes increasingly doubtful as time goes by, as does the power of such laws or other political acts to shape behavior to desirable ends through incentives.
[*] Technically, the term "statute of limitations" applies where a statute expressly sets a time limit, and the doctrine of laches applies where no such statute exists.