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Revista Derecho del Estado

versión impresa ISSN 0122-9893


CARVALHO VECOSO, Fabia Fernandes. The inter-american view on amnesties: human rights absolutism?. Rev. Derecho Estado [online]. 2015, n.35, pp.3-26. ISSN 0122-9893.

This study aims at debating the Inter-American court of Human Rights' reasoning regarding transitional processes in Latin America. In its case law on the topic, the court has determined that national amnesty laws lack legal effects. With no intention to define the nature or content of a duty to punish in international law, this study analyzes the court's reasoning as a result of an interpretive activity, a discourse that reflects a particular position of the organ, but is presented as something universal. Differently from the court's approach, the main argument discussed herein is that amnesties and trials can both be justified from a human rights perspective in contexts of regime change and human rights violations. In this setting, it is not possible to indicate a priori one alternative or another as the adequate one without showing an ideological preference. In view of the idea of the indeterminacy of rights, different legal solutions can be articulated to promote a peaceful political transition, and the relative usefulness of one solution can only be determined contextually.

Palabras clave : Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Amnesty; Political Transition; Latin America.

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