La idea de justicia frente a crimenes de Estado

Translated title of the contribution: The Notion of Justice for State Crimes

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Abstract

Even if we limit our attention to a more or less bounded set of cases, that we could heuristically call the classic 'transitional justice contexts' -that is, Latin American countries that can be referred to as 'post-authoritarian,' or 'post-internal armed conflict' (although this is quite relative in some cases), plus Colombia, where there is an already long history of the use of mechanisms, vocabularies, and practices associated with transitional justice, even before the recent signing of the peace accords-, there are at least nine countries in the region that we should consider. These are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay (post-authoritarian); El Salvador and Guatemala (post-internal armed conflict); Peru (a hybrid case, with post-authoritarian aspects and post-internal armed conflict dynamics); and Colombia, a country with a long and complex internal armed conflict where we hope we are finally able to see ‘the beginning of the end.’
These are countries that have legacies of recent, intensive, or extensive political violence, within an identifiable, bounded recent time period, in which we have witnessed subsequent practices, claimmaking, mobilizations, or state initiatives or public policies that are usually associated with transitional justice, inter alia, truth commissions, criminal prosecution and/or amnesty for violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law, reparations, etc. They are diverse countries, even within the two principal categories or ´blocs´ that emerge: on one side, the post-authoritarian countries, which tend to be those of the Southern Cone (including Brazil); on the other, those that suffered an internal armed conflict two Central American and two Andean States. We see immediately that although this volume focuses on state crimes, the proportion of the fatal violence at issue that was perpetrated by the State in these cases, varies considerably. Only in Peru, and it remains to be seen if also in Colombia, non-state forces can be said to have had the sad distinction of being attributed responsibility for more deaths and disappearances than state forces.
If we also wanted to add Mexico to the mix, with its context of 'macrocriminality' – traversed by the perverse dynamics of 'narco-state' and organized violence, with massive disappearances that remain endemic, associated with both explicitly political purposes and human trafficking- the chances of being able to say anything that is valid for all these places regarding the procurement of justice, the issue on which I have been invited to reflect here, are even more reduced.
Given this, I believe that the first question we must pose to ourselves is what “justice” or which “justices” are we seeking, and expecting, in and for each context.
Translated title of the contributionThe Notion of Justice for State Crimes
Original languageSpanish
Title of host publicationExperiencias sobre justicia, verdad y memoria frente a crimenes de Estado
EditorsJose Antonio Guevara, Lucia Chavez
Place of PublicationDF
PublisherComite para la Promocion de los Derechos Humanos CMDPDH Mexico
Chapter1
Pages15-32
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9786079787943
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • Transitional justice
  • Truth
  • justice
  • Memory
  • human rights
  • State Crime

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  • Cite this

    Collins, C. (2019). La idea de justicia frente a crimenes de Estado. In J. A. Guevara, & L. Chavez (Eds.), Experiencias sobre justicia, verdad y memoria frente a crimenes de Estado (pp. 15-32). Comite para la Promocion de los Derechos Humanos CMDPDH Mexico.