One of the most contentious issues after the transition from military rule 
to democratic rule is how to deal with human rights violations committed 
by the military regime. Typically, the outgoing military regime will try to 
protect itself from prosecution by establishing amnesty laws. Over time, 
civilian-military tension usually eases, and the military is likely to wish 
to distance itself from repression committed by previous military regimes. 
The courtroom has therefore become an increasingly common meeting 
place for retired military officials, and victims and their families who 
have suffered various forms of abuse at the hands of the military, namely, 
torture, rape, forced exile, extrajudicial killings, detained-disappearance, 
massacres, and even genocide. An overview of developments in 
transitional justice for past wrongs in Latin America, covering the period 
from the early transitions to democratic rule in the 1980s to the present, 
shows that time and patience are of utmost importance for those waiting 
for justice.

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