Work in Progress Research Seminar Series
Date: Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Time: 12:30 – 2:00
Venue: Room 105, UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN
Do transitional justice measures help foster democratic security forces?
Chandra Lekha Sriram (UEL) & Valerie Arnould (Egmont - Royal Institute for International Relations, Brussels)
Abstract: This paper considers the impact of transitional justice on one specific component of democratic institution-building: the development of a democratic security sector. At present, there is little consensus on the effects transitional justice mechanisms have on security forces and their democratic control. While some argue that ending impunity is central to improving the effectiveness and behaviour of the security forces, as well as citizens’ trust in these institutions, others warn that an overly harsh accountability policy targeted at the security forces can have destabilising effects. This article examines the experiences of four countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: Chile, Brazil, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The countries represent two different modalities of transition: from authoritarian rule and significant internal political violence, and from internal armed conflict. They also offer diversity in terms of geography and “geopolitical time”, i.e. experiencing transitional justice processes primarily initiated before or after the end of the Cold War. In each country, political leaders as well as their international and transnational allies selected different mechanisms of transitional justice over time: amnesties, commissions of inquiry, prosecutions, vetting/lustration and reparations/memorial. They thus offer an opportunity to examine in context the ways in which these different mechanisms operate, and their effects upon democratic security forces.
The Making of Gomes Lund: The Inter-American Human Rights System and Transitional Justice in Brazil
Par Engstrom (UCL) presenting author & Bruno Boti Bernardi (Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados – UFGD)
Abstract: This paper examines processes of legal mobilisation of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) by a group of non-professional human rights activists in the case of Gomes Lund et al. (Guerilha do Araguaia) v. Brazil. We tell the story of how victims’ relatives made Gomes Lund come about, in order to shed light on very lengthy and complex judicial proceedings in Brazil and before the IAHRS, as well as the responses by the state over the course of over forty years of political and legal struggles. This is partly a chronological story, using process-tracing of a particularly illuminating case, that seeks to understand how and why it evolved in the ways it did over time. Yet, the paper is also concerned with interpretation; that is, exploring the shifting understandings and meanings of Gomes Lund over time. More specifically, we argue that a close reading of the case provides insights on key developments of transitional justice in Brazil. The paper is based on primary materials, including communications between petitioners, the Inter-American Commission, the Brazilian state; as well as interviews with key participants. Beyond the reading of the specific case of Gomes Lund, the paper highlights key dimensions of transitional justice in Brazil, on the one hand, and about the IAHRS, on the other.
Discussant: Anthony Pereira (King’s Brazil Institute)
This event is part of LTJN’s work in progress seminar series; an informal forum for LTJN members to present and discuss their ongoing research. Seminar papers are circulated in advance to all participants. 45 minutes are allocated to each paper (10 minutes presentation, 15 minutes for the discussant, and 15-20 minutes of general discussion).
Attendance is open to all LTJN members, but space is limited. To participate in the seminar please contact Par Engstrom (email@example.com).