Human Rights and the Judiciary in Post-Authoritarian Argentina

  • Instituto Cervantes, 15-19 Devereux Court, London

Tickets available, to be paid on door at entry.

£10.00 General Public

£5.00 Members of Canning House or Cervantes

Canning House and Instituto Cervantes are co-presenting this series of talks that looks at military dictatorships in 20th Century Latin America and their legacies to present day. Each talk will focus on a different country.

This lecture explores the role of the Argentine judiciary in addressing the legacies of state repression. I argue that the unprecedented wave of human rights prosecutions currently under way in Argentina is the result of a profound ideational transformation in the judicial branch orchestrated by human rights activists since the early 1990s. I challenge the view held by some scholars and practitioners who contend that the re-launching of criminal prosecutions in the 2000s was as easy as "hunting lions in the zoo." The lecture will show that despite the importance of changes in civil-military relations and the human rights policies promoted by the executive branch, the recent explosion of human rights trials would have not been possible in the absence of changes in the legal cultures of key judicial players, or without the dismantling of island of corporatist resistance to the trials by judicial actors in several provinces and in the upper echelons of the federal judiciary. The lecture concludes by drawing lessons from this experience relative to the uneven pace of democratisation processes and the impact of human rights trials on the rule of law.

With Ezequiel Gonzalez Ocantos - Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, and Professorial Fellow in Nuffield College. His current book project explores the behaviour of Latin American judges in cases of serious human rights violations. His articles have been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics and Comparative Political Studies.

Gonzalez Ocantos holds a B.A. in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. His doctoral dissertation won the American Political Science Association's Corwin Award for the best dissertation in the field of Public Law.

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