New publication – Truth versus impunity

AfricanrhetoricSévane Garibian has published ‘Truth versus impunity: Post-transitional justice in Argentina and the ‘human rights turn”‘ in the African Yearbook of Rhetoric (vol. 6, no.1, 2015, pp. 63–73).

This paper addresses the juridical treatment of the crimes committed by the Argentine dictatorship and divides the proceedings into two stages – the transitional phase proper (from 1983 to the 1990s) and the post-transitional phase (from the 1990s to the present day) – constituting a return from punishment to pardon, and back again. Both phases saw a number of abrupt turns, each corresponding to a shift in the paradigm through which the abuses committed by the military regime were confronted. The period between these two phases, meanwhile, saw the appearance of the ‘human rights turn’ based on a prescriptive injunction to pursue what was seen as a necessary fight against impunity for perpertrators of the most serious crimes. This development gave rise to new subjective human rights (such as the ‘right to the truth’) which would in turn contribute to developments in criminal law relating to these matters. The criticisms voiced in relation to this ‘criminalisation of human rights’, along with the highly complex and diverse nature of the Argentine experience, illustrate the uncertainties with which we are inevitably confronted when attempting to re-think the very notion of justice during a stage of political (post-)transition in the aftermath of a period of state-committed mass crimes, with the inevitable degree of creative transformation of the law and its functions that this entails.

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