Balancing the scales of justice: the advance of human rights prosecutions in Argentina and Chile

Weston, L., 2006. Balancing the scales of justice: the advance of human rights prosecutions in Argentina and Chile. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This study examines the recent advance of human rights prosecutions in Argentina and Chile and seeks to explain the underlying causes. The thesis challenges a 'transnational justice' interpretation that places primary explanatory weight on the impact of transnational proceedings, especially those following the arrest of General Pinochet in Britain in 1998. Instead, it suggests that cases have advanced due to a complex interplay of domestic and transnational factors. Changes conducive to case progression were already underway prior to the significant stage of development of transnational proceedings and had already produced some positive results. Transnational justice acted as a catalyst on these processes, serving to reinforce and consolidate them, with a greater impact evident in Chile than in Argentina. The thesis thereby builds upon current models of transnational/domestic interaction, identifying the importance of domestic opportunity structures within the causal relationship.

The procedural development of a representative sample of 14 domestic human rights cases across Argentina and Chile is scrutinised through documentary analysis and elite-level interviews. The study determines precisely how, procedurally and politically, each case advanced. It explores the procedural development of cases through the use of evidence and legal arguments utilised in transnational cases. The political dimension of case development is explored through analysis of changes in the judiciary, the military and 'political society' for each country. In both countries progress has been made in subordinating the military to civilian rule; increasing the autonomy and independence of the judiciary; and reducing factionalism within political society, permitting a gradual convergence over the human rights issue.

The removal of political and legal obstacles put in place during, or shortly after, democratic transition, has implications for the rule of law and democratic consolidation. Whereas the human rights issue was previously symptom and cause in a vicious circle of democratic non-consolidation, it has been transformed into a driver of a virtuous circle of democratic change.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Weston, L.
Date: 2006
ISBN: 9781369315912
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 22 Sep 2020 14:17
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2023 10:28

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