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The Pinochet Effect

The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights

Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 272
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    The Pinochet Effect
    Book Description:

    The 1998 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London and subsequent extradition proceedings sent an electrifying wave through the international community. This legal precedent for bringing a former head of state to trial outside his home country signaled that neither the immunity of a former head of state nor legal amnesties at home could shield participants in the crimes of military governments. It also allowed victims of torture and crimes against humanity to hope that their tormentors might be brought to justice. In this meticulously researched volume, Naomi Roht-Arriaza examines the implications of the litigation against members of the Chilean and Argentine military governments and traces their effects through similar cases in Latin American and Europe. Roht-Arriaza discusses the difficulties in bringing violators of human rights to justice at home, and considers the role of transitional justice in transnational prosecutions and investigations in the national courts of countries other than those where the crimes took place. She traces the roots of the landmark Pinochet case and follows its development and those of related cases, through Spain, the United Kingdom, elsewhere in Europe, and then through Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. She situates these transnational cases within the context of an emergent International Criminal Court, as well as the effectiveness of international law and of the lawyers, judges, and activists working together across continents to make a new legal paradigm a reality. Interviews and observations help to contextualize and dramatize these compelling cases. These cases have tremendous ramifications for the prospect of universal jurisdiction and will continue to resonate for years to come. Roht-Arriaza's deft navigation of these complicated legal proceedings elucidates the paradigm shift underlying this prosecution as well as the traction gained by advocacy networks promoting universal jurisdiction in recent decades.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0307-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. Chapter 1 The Beginning
    (pp. 1-31)

    General Augusto Pinochet really wanted to travel. During his seventeen years as head of Chile’s military government, he had only been able to make two long trips abroad. Both had been disasters. When Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, he had flown to Spain for the funeral, his first trip to Europe. His Spanish hosts gave him forty-eight hours to leave the country. In 1980 he flew to visit fellow dictator Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, but at the first stop, Fiji, he had trouble disembarking because the airport workers’ unions refused to move the stairs into place. The...

  5. Chapter 2 The Adventures of Augusto Pinochet in the United Kingdom: A “Most Civilized Country”
    (pp. 32-66)

    Andy McEntee, chair of Amnesty International’s UK section, had been following General Pinochet’s trip to London in 1998 with great interest. This was not the first time he had thought about seeking an arrest warrant for the Chilean dictator. “He had been here a number of times before, but he always came for short periods and left before we could get the authorities to act,” he told me. On the first trip, in 1991, he had come in relation to official British Aerospace arms sales to Chile, and had left the same day. In 1992, the lawyers’ network connected to...

  6. Chapter 3 The Investigations Come Home to Chile
    (pp. 67-96)

    Jack Straw’s decision to let Pinochet go home set in motion the longstanding plans of the Chilean military. Not about to take chances on a last-minute Interpol warrant, the air force plane carried enough fuel to ensure reaching Chile nonstop. Pinochet celebrated in his flying hospital, no doubt savoring Margaret Thatcher’s parting gift of a silver plate originally crafted to commemorate the British victory over the Spanish navy in 1588. “I know you’ll appreciate and enjoy the symbolism,” she wrote him. At home, the head of the army worked on his welcoming speech, while incoming President Ricardo Lagos told journalists...

  7. Chapter 4 Argentina: Truth and Consequences
    (pp. 97-117)

    The start of the Spanish investigation coincided with a rebirth of interest in the dictatorship’s crimes, including Adolfo Scilingo’s 1995 revelations about the death flights, public admissions by officers that the military had used torture, and the public apology and admission by General Balza, head of the army, that the security forces used unacceptable tactics during the 1970s.

    Pinochet’s arrest in London electrified the entire Southern Cone. By 1998, the renewed public interest in the fate of the “dirty war” victims and their torturers had begun to find an echo in the Argentine judiciary. Even more than in Chile, judges...

  8. Chapter 5 The European Cases
    (pp. 118-149)

    Pinochet’s arrest in London also provoked ripples throughout Europe. Many European countries harbored large South American exile populations, and, like Robin Cook in the UK, many of the politicians, judges and lawyers in those countries had as students protested the coup in Chile. Charges against Pinochet were quickly filed across the continent, including Belgium, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and Italy. I talked to some of those bringing the charges.

    Rosario Aguilar remembers what she was doing when she heard that Pinochet had been arrested, the way people in the U.S. remember what they were doing when President Kennedy was shot...

  9. Chapter 6 Operation Condor Redux
    (pp. 150-169)

    By 1999, Judge Garzón’s Spanish investigation into the links among the South American security forces during the 1970s began to bear fruit. His request to the U.S. authorities to provide documents on what the U.S. knew about repression in Argentina (and Judge García-Castellón’s parallel request on Chile) eventually led to some interesting memos. Even more documents were declassified in February 1999, when President Clinton, at the request of a number of Congressional Democrats, ordered the CIA, State Department, and other agencies to review for release documents that might shed light on human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political...

  10. Chapter 7 The Legal Legacy of Pinochet: Universal Jurisdiction and Its Discontents
    (pp. 170-207)

    The spectacle of Chile’s once-powerful General Pinochet under arrest, and the favorable initial decisions from the House of Lords in Britain and the Audiencia Nacional in Spain, kindled new hopes in human rights advocates around the world. The courts of many countries were closed to investigations or lawsuits involving abuses by the local military or police, due to formal amnesty laws or informal threats, bribes, or other pressures. Maybe the Pinochet path was a viable alternative. Transnational prosecutions in the courts of other states, hitherto considered legally possible but more than a little fanciful, started looking much more interesting.


  11. Chapter 8 The Actors Behind the Pinochet Cases
    (pp. 208-224)

    The cases described in this book involve broad coalitions of actors making law, influencing foreign affairs, and changing the domestic political calculus in the countries that were the “target” of the litigation as well as in the countries where the cases were brought. They provide insights into how these coalitions were formed and the tensions and synergies that affected them. Social scientists have attributed a major role to such coalitions in driving international relations. The cases also provide new windows into the role of exile and diasporic communities as agents of political change in their “home” and “host” countries. They...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 225-238)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 239-246)
  14. Index
    (pp. 247-254)
  15. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 255-256)