Workshop on Transitional Justice in Latin America: Experiences and Impact

On 26 May I participated in a workshop at the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) which examined the field of transitional justice in Latin America. The workshop participants were asked to address the questions below. My own responses are available here.

1. After 30 years of experience with TJ in Latin America, in what areas do you think transitional justice has made a significant contribution?

2. Have 30 years of TJ experiences changed our understanding or definitions of “accountability” and “impunity”?

3. How can we address or measure “accountability”? And what remain the main challenges to accountability for human rights violations in the region?

4. Thirty years ago the use of ‘amnesties’ in Latin America was very much related to impunity; is this still the case or are amnesties now functioning alongside prosecutions in the cases you know best? Can amnesties be a legitimate part of an official justice strategy? In what circumstances?

5. Early TJ mechanism design, and international law, focus on what states should or should not do. But recent truth justice and memory initiatives involve both state and civil society actors. Do nonstate initiatives ‘count’ as TJ? Are informal justice actions such as the escraches ‘part’ of TJ? Does civil society truthtelling have the same status as state acknowledgment? When can memorialisation ‘count’ as symbolic reparations? Only when it involves the state?

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