Gross human rights violations have constituted a hotly contested national issue in many recent transitions from authoritarianism to democracy. This article analyses how newly elected democratic governments have dealt with violations committed by officials of previous authoritarian regimes. Empirical evidence from around 30 (mainly) Latin American and African countries undergoing democratic transition after the mid-1970s shows that the government's choice of human rights policy largely depends on the relative strength of the public's demand for truth and justice and the outgoing regime's demand for amnesty and impunity. Policy choice will tend towards trials as the outgoing regime becomes weaker and away from trials as the outgoing regime becomes stronger. Truth commissions are the most likely outcome when the relative strength of the conflicting demands is roughly equal. Where human rights policy deviates from predictions, the government always does less than expected. These arguments hold true both at the time of regime change and during the consolidation phase, as power dynamics often change over time.
"Flooding our eyes with rubbish": urban waste management in Maputo, Mozambique
Inge Tvedten and Sara Candiracci
Environment and Urbanization
On the way to good health? Rural roads and morbidity in Upland Orissa
Clive Bell and Susanne van Dillen
Journal of Transport & Health
Religious Counter-Mobilization against Child Marriage Reform in Sudan
Siha Journal: Women in Islam
Movimiento transnacional contra el derecho al aborto en América Latina
El aborto en América Latina Estrategias jurídicas para luchar por su legalización y enfrentar las resistencias conservadoras
What does it mean t be poor? Investigating the qualitative-quantitative divide in Mozambique
Sam Jones and Inge Tvedten
Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development
Mick Moore, Wilson Prichard and Odd-Helge Fjeldstad
Capacity building for the Nigerian Navy: Eyes wide shut on corruption?
Åse Gilje Østensen, Sheelagh Brady, Sofie Arjon Schütte
Family law reform in Sudan: A never ending story?
Samia al-Nagar and Liv Tønnessen
The gendering of poverty and inequality in rural Malanje, Angola
Iselin Åsedotter Strønen and Margaret Nangacovie
Professional Agency in the Ecology of Wrongdoing
Brooke Harrington, Copenhagen Business School