Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America
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Comparative Constitutional Law in Latin America

Edited by Rosalind Dixon and Tom Ginsburg

This book provides unique insights into the practice of democratic constitutionalism in one of the world’s most legally and politically significant regions. It combines contributions from leading Latin American and global scholars to provide ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ insights about the lessons to be drawn from the distinctive constitutional experiences of countries in Latin America. In doing so, it also draws on a rich array of legal and interdisciplinary perspectives. Ultimately, it shows both the promise of democratic constitutions as a vehicle for social, economic and political change, and the variation in the actual constitutional experiences of different countries on the ground – or the limits to constitutions as a locus for broader social change.
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Chapter 4: A critical mapping of transitional justice in Latin America

Lucas Lixinski

Abstract

The chapter examines the diversity of transitional justice architectures in Latin America. While there is increased pressure to move towards anti-impunity and criminalization as responses to past atrocity in the region, other solutions have been adopted, and are still in place; these include amnesties, on the one hand, and memorialization and reparation processes, on the other. These three archetypes of transitional justice (amnesties; memorialization and reparations; and criminal prosecutions) can be explained by different political and historical contingencies across different countries. International justice projects have pushed for increasing use of criminal law measures in the context of transition, to the point where other measures are either deemed illegal, or are eclipsed by the focus on prosecutions. This focus, I argue, eclipses the politics of transition, and in doing so prevents countries from addressing the structural causes of the original instability. Keywords: transitional justice, Plan Condor, Inter-American Court, amnesties, memory, prosecutions

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