Persistent or Eroding Impunity? The Divergent Effects of Legal Challenges to Amnesty Laws for Past Human Rights Violations

  title={Persistent or Eroding Impunity? The Divergent Effects of Legal Challenges to Amnesty Laws for Past Human Rights Violations},
  author={Francesca Lessa and Tricia Olsen and Leigh A. Payne and Gabriel Pereira and Andrew G. Reiter},
  journal={Israel Law Review},
  pages={105 - 131}
Transitional countries have struggled to overcome impunity for human rights violations committed by past authoritarian regimes. While some scholars have hailed the emergence of a ‘justice cascade’, a ‘justice revolution’, and an ‘age of accountability’, our research highlights the persistence of amnesty laws despite efforts to erode them. This article examines 63 amnesties for human rights violations committed by state agents that were enacted in 34 transitional countries from 1970 to 2011, and… 
7 Citations
  • Louise Mallinder
  • Political Science
    International and Comparative Law Quarterly
  • 2016
Abstract The atrocious abuses committed under South America's dictators resulted in a wave of amnesties. Following transitions to democracy, challenges from victims and civil society unpicked several
The control of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights over amnesty laws and other exemption measures: Legitimacy assessment
Abstract In 2001, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) seminally found self-amnesty laws on serious human rights violations to be null and void. However, later national reactions showed
Prosecutorial Accountability and Victims' Rights in Latin America
The responsibility of any state is to protect its citizens. But if a state, either through omission or through commission, fails to investigate and prosecute crime then what remedies do citizens
Has the Ability of Truth Commissions to Recommend Amnesty Been Effective in Enhancing Perpetrator Cooperation?
  • J. Sarkin
  • Political Science
    Revista de Direito Internacional
  • 2019
This article examines the amnesty powers granted to a variety of truth commissions (TC). It considers whether the process by which TCs are able to recommend for perpetrators who cooperate with TCs
Populism, Public Law, and Democratic Decay in Brazil: Understanding the Rise of Jair Bolsonaro
  • T. Daly
  • Political Science
    SSRN Electronic Journal
  • 2019
On 28 October 2018 Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate, won the presidential elections in Brazil with 55% of the vote. His election marks, not the beginning of a democratic crisis for Brazil, but
The People's Duty
  • Political Science
  • 2017


Grounding Global Justice: International Networks and Domestic Human Rights Accountability in Chile and El Salvador
  • Cath Collins
  • Political Science
    Journal of Latin American Studies
  • 2006
The UK detention of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998 was hailed at the time as an unprecedented demonstration of the possible efficacy of ‘global civil society’ networks in holding
Judiciary Involvement in Authoritarian Repression and Transitional Justice: The Spanish Case in Comparative Perspective
Why have some democracies made considerable progress in prosecuting dictatorship-era human rights violations or in publicly exposing the truth about repression while others still have amnesty laws
Guilty as Charged: The Trial of Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for Human Rights Violations
On 7 April 2009, Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, was found guilty of grave human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison - the maximum penalty allowed by Peruvian
To prosecute or to pardon? Human rights decisions in the Latin American southern cone
This paper examines why human rights trials against military offenders were held in Argentina and not elsewhere. Although nearly all South American countries were afflicted by state repression and
Can Amnesties and International Justice be Reconciled
When states are attempting to recover from periods of serious human rights abuse, they often must try to reconcile the competing demands of different stakeholders. These demands may range from claims
Mapping Perpetrator Prosecutions in Latin America
This collaborative paper discusses how two academic institutions and one NGO in Latin America have co-operated to map recent trial activity for past human rights violations, applying social science
Civil society and transitional justice: possibilities, patterns and prospects
Analyses of transitional justice processes conventionally address the formal steps taken by national governments and international political institutions. This article instead focuses on the
High‐Risk Collective Action: Defending Human Rights in Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina1
  • M. Loveman
  • Political Science
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1998
Under what conditions will individuals risk their lives to resist repressive states? This question is addressed through comparative analysis of the emergence of human rights organizations under
Executive Leadership and the Continuing Quest for Justice in Argentina
After Argentina transitioned from military rule to democracy, the new civilian government attempted to prosecute members of the former military regime for human rights abuses. However, military
Unofficial Truth Projects
This article analyzes a category of truth-telling initiatives that emerge from civil society and resemble, either self-consciously or coincidentally, official truth commissions such as those in