Comparative Country Studies Regarding Truth, Justice, and Reparations for Gross Human Rights Violations: Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala
IHRLC Working Paper Series No. 2
66 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 1, 2014
This paper examines transitional justice initiatives undertaken in Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala to address the widespread human rights abuses perpetrated during the military dictatorships of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in those countries. The three countries considered in this paper serve as appropriate comparative cases as they share important features with the Indian context. All three Latin American countries share with India a history of state-sponsored torture and enforced disappearances perpetrated against suspected political opponents. Most importantly, the expenditures made on reparations in these three countries suggest the potential for India to undertake similar measures.
This paper is organized into five additional sections. The next section provides a succinct overview of the right to remedy in international law. The third section presents the three country case studies. Each case study addresses four primary dimensions: 1) an overview of the history of conflict that led to the development of a reparations scheme; 2) a description of the truth seeking mechanisms implemented; 3) identification of other transitional justice measures undertaken; and 4) a review of the reparation programs implemented as well as their legacies. The fourth section examines examples of truth seeking mechanisms in India: the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots Commission, the Gujarat Commission, and the Orissa Commissions. The fifth section begins by making a comparative analysis of the Latin American case studies alone and then turns to a comparative analysis of the Latin American and Indian experiences.The paper concludes with final observations that highlight the importance of Indian human rights advocates considering nationwide or thematic truth seeking mechanisms that are informed by the successes and failures of such mechanisms in Latin America, and responsive to the unique factors that will influence such an initiative in India.
This Working Paper was prepared by students in the International Human Rights Law Clinic under the supervision of Laurel E. Fletcher. Angana Chatterji, Co-Chair of for the Project on Armed Conflict Resolution and People's Rights (ACRes), Center for Social Sector Leadership, Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and Mallika Kaur, Director of Programs, ACRes provided helpful comments. Clinical Fellow Katrina Natale ’15 gave invaluable editorial assistance. We thank Olivia Layug, Associate Administrator for Berkeley Law’s clinical program for her help with production.
Keywords: Transitional justice, reparations, India
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