Latin America was the hub for military dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s. Decades later, countries in the region are still struggling with how to deal with their violent pasts. Argentina and Uruguay, which suffered large-scale systematic human rights violations, are both among the regional protagonists of transitional justice. How have they defined the truth about what happened? When and why have they managed to take human rights perpetrators to court? And how have they constructed political memories of their authoritarian pasts?

Dr Franscesa Lessa addresses these questions when she presents her new book on transitional justice in Argentina and Uruguay at CMI and the Bergen Resource Centre for International Development on December 4.

The book explores the interaction between memory and transitional justice in innovative ways. Previous memory studies have mainly focused on commemorative sites and dates, while transitional justice scholarship has centered on truth commissions, trials, and reparations. This book brings these two fields of study together through the concept of critical junctures. The book examines the evolutionary dynamics and shifts across time in transitional justice policies, and the emergence and replacement of dominant memory narratives in the context of enduring struggles against impunity in post-dictatorship Argentina and Uruguay.

CMI Senior Researcher Elin Skaar and Dr Camila Gianella (CMI) will provide comments and reflections about the book.

Francesca Lessa, an expert on Argentina and Uruguay, is currently postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford's Latin American Centre and St. Anne's College. She is also a member of Oxford Transitional Justice Research. Since June 2010, she has been a research associate at the Latin America International Affairs Programme, IDEAS Centre, at the London School of Economics. In 2010, she was a Visiting Lecturer on transitional justice and human rights at the Faculty of Psychology, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Dr Lessa is the Principal Investigator for the project "Justice and Memory beyond Borders: The Plan Condor and Accountability in Argentina and Uruguay." She is author of the book Memory and Transitional Justice in Argentina and Uruguay: Against Impunity (Palgrave Macmillan 2013) and co-editor of the following volumes: Amnesty in the Age of Human Rights Accountability: Comparative and International Perspectives (Cambridge University Press 2012), The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), andLuchas contra la impunidad: Uruguay 1985-2011 (Trilce 2011).

Lunch will be served from 12:00-12:30 in the Bergen Resource Centre.

This book launch is organized by the research cluster Rights and Legal Institutions at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.