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Impunity and Human Rights in International Law and Practice - Naomi Roht-Arriaza

Impunity and Human Rights in International Law and Practice

By: Naomi Roht-Arriaza (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 13th July 1995
ISBN: 9780195081367
Number Of Pages: 416

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As dictatorships topple around the world and transitional regimes emerge from the political rubble, the new governments inherit a legacy of widespread repression against the civilian population. This repression ranges from torture, forced disappearances, and imprisonment to the killings of both real and perceived political opponents. Nonetheless, the official status of the perpetrators shields them from sanction, creating a culture of impunity in which the most inhumane acts can be carried out without fear of repercussions. The new governments wrestle with whether or not to investigate prior wrongdoings by state officials. They must determine who, if any, of those responsible for the worst crimes should be brought to justice, even if this means annulling a previous amnesty law or risking a violent backlash by military or security forces. Finally, they have to decide how to compensate the victims of this repression, if at all.
Beginning with a general consideration of theories of punishment and redress for victims, Impunity and Human Rights in International Law and Practice explores how international law provides guidance on these issues of investigation, prosecution, and compensation. It reviews some of the more well-known historical examples of societies grappling with impunity, including those arising from the Second World War and from the fall of the Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese dictatorships in the 1970s. Country studies from around the world look at how the problem of impunity has been dealt with in practice in the last two decades. The work then distills these experiences into a general discussion of what has and hasn't worked. It concludes by considering the role of international law and institutions in the future, especially given renewed interest in international mechanisms to punish wrong-doers.
As individuals, governments, and international organizations come to grips with histories of repression and impunity in countries around the world, the need to define legal procedures and criteria for dealing with past abuses of human rights takes on a special importance. Impunity and Human Rights in International Law and Practice aims to share their experiences in the hope that lawyers, scholars, and activists in those countries where dealing with the past is only now becoming an imperative may learn from those who have recently confronted similar challenges. This work will be essential reading for lawyers, political and social scientists, historians and journalists, as well as human rights experts concerned with this important issue.

Industry Reviews

"An impressive volume that combines deep scholarship in international law with a dozen case studies by regional specialists on Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and southern Africa."--Choice "An important contribution to the current debate about what transitional governments should do to confront their repressive pasts."--The American Journal of International Law "An impressive volume that combines deep scholarship in international law with a dozen case studies by regional specialists on Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and southern Africa."--Choice "An important contribution to the current debate about what transitional governments should do to confront their repressive pasts."--The American Journal of International Law

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Contributorsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
The Legal Settingp. 11
Punishment, Redress, and Pardon: Theoretical and Psychological Approachesp. 13
Sources in International Treaties of an Obligation to Investigate, Prosecute, and Provide Redressp. 24
Nontreaty Sources of the Obligation to Investigate and Prosecutep. 39
Special Problems of a Duty to Prosecute: Derogation, Amnesties, Statutes of Limitation, and Superior Ordersp. 57
Case Studies: Europep. 71
Overviewp. 73
Decommunization After the "Velvet Revolutions" in East Central Europep. 82
Problems in Blaming and Punishing Individuals for Human Rights Violations: The Example of the Berlin Wall Shootingsp. 99
Destalinization in the Former Soviet Unionp. 113
Romania: a Persistent Culture of Impunityp. 129
Case Studies: Latin Americap. 145
Overviewp. 147
Punishing Human Rights Abuses in Fledgling Democracies: The Case of Argentinap. 160
Chile: Truth an Justice Under the Democratic Governmentp. 171
Haiti: Searching for Alternativesp. 185
El Salvador: a Negotiated End to Impunity?p. 198
Case Studies: Africa and Asiap. 219
Overviewp. 221
The Human Rights Debacle in the Philippinesp. 231
Human Rights in Cambodiap. 243
Zimbabwe: Drawing a Line Through the Pastp. 252
South Africa: Negotiating Change?p. 267
Conclusion: Combating Impunityp. 281
Notesp. 305
Indexp. 383
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195081367
ISBN-10: 0195081366
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 13th July 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.47 x 15.9  x 3.25
Weight (kg): 0.73

Earn 391 Qantas Points
on this Book