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CLACS Speaker/IGI Blueprint for Transitional Justice in the US Series- Dr. Ezequiel González Ocantos "Transitional Justice in Latin America: Lessons for the United States?"

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Supported by the Call to Action to Address Racism & Social Injustice Research Program and co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Oct 21, 2021   12:00 pm  
Dr. Ezequiel González Ocantos

Since the onset of the third wave of the democratization in the 1980s, debates about transitional justice have become a permanent feature of the political landscape across Latin America, pitting pro- and anti-impunity coalitions in heated fights over memory, institutions, and the law. The protracted nature of victims’ struggles as well as the recurrence of backlash against progress in the direction of truth, justice, and peace, have turned the region into a unique site of global innovation in transitional justice policies. Much of this innovation is the result of complex political bargains crafted under narrow limits of possibility, but also of the gradual bottom-up construction of a rights-affirming legal discourse grounded in international human rights law. This discourse has successfully questioned (and sometimes replaced) an old legal orthodoxy that originally was one of the main obstacles for truth- and justice-seeking initiatives. In this talk I will describe how a combination of social mobilization and legal entrepreneurship paved the way for Latin America’s landmark achievements in the field of transitional justice, and discuss what lessons, if any, the specific genesis of these victories can offer for the United States.

Ezequiel González Ocantos (Ph.D. Notre Dame, 2012) is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Oxford, and Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College. He is the author of Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America (Cambridge UP, 2016), winner of best book awards from APSA, LASA and ISA, and The Politics of Transitional Justice in Latin America: Power, Norms and Capacity Building (Cambridge UP, 2020). His work on judicial politics and other topics has also appeared in the American Journal of Political ScienceComparative Political StudiesComparative PoliticsInternational Studies QuarterlyLaw and Society Review, and The International Journal of Constitutional Law, among other journals. He is currently writing a book on the politics of corruption prosecutions in Latin America.

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