Elin Skaar

Senior Researcher, Coordinator: Rights and Legal Institutions

This research project, funded by the Latin America Programme of the Norwegian Research Council, has had several objectives:

First, the project aimed to develop a comprehensive analytical framework for comparative analysis to explore how the choice of mechanisms for addressing gross human rights violations (truth commissions, trials, amnesties, and reparations) may affect accountability at both the victims' level and at the societal level. Second, the project aimed to carry out an explorative empirical analysis of nine selected 'post-authoritarian' and 'post-conflict' cases in Latin America using a common template. This included a comprehensive study of transitional justice (TJ) initiatives in the ongoing peacebuilding process in Colombia.

By doing so, the project has contributed to the scholarly debates on transitional justice, particularly by conceptually and methodologically advancing the impact assessment literature. The project is expected to contribute to policy making in the TJ/peacebuilding field through its new analytical tools for impact assessment. Throughout the project period (2010-14), we have emphasised the importance of enhancing national and international research cooperation on Latin America.

The collaborative efforts of six partner institutions and thirteen researchers has resulted in a volume entitled Transitional Justice in Latin America: The Uneven Road from Impunity towards Accountability (edited by Skaar, Garcia-Godos and Collins). The volume thematically and systematically explores the trajectories for each of the four TJMs that are the focus of this project (truth commissions, trials, amnesties, and reparations) for the nine countries included in our study (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay).More specifically, the book investigates to what extent there has been a shift from impunity towards accountability for past human rights violations in Latin America. Using ‘thick’, but structured, narratives – which allow patterns to emerge, rather than being imposed – the book assesses how the quality, timing and sequencing of transitional justice mechanisms, along with the context in which they appear, have mattered for the nature and impact of transitional justice processes in the region. Offering a new approach to assessing transitional justice, and challenging many assumptions in the established literature, this book will be of great benefit to scholars and others working in this area.

The book is currently in press, forthcoming May 2016 at Routledge in its Transitional Justice Series (see https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138853249)

Publications

See also: