Human Rights Series: Transitional Justice in the Americas

December 1, 2005 - 4:00 pm

Transitional Justice refers to the pursuit of accountability for past massive and/or systematic violations of internationally recognized human rights. The pursuit of transitional justice entails both judicial and non-judicial means that include prosecutions of perpetrators, documentation of atrocities through truth and reconciliation commissions, and the provision of reparation to victims. This panel discussion will identify some of the key issues pertaining to transitional justice in Latin America. The papers discussed examine the arguments for and against transitional justice and evaluate the merits of specific options in light of the overall goals of peace and reconciliation.

Catalina Diaz, International Center for Transitional Justice
Marifeli Pérez-Stable, Inter-American Dialogue and Florida International University
Peter Winn, Tufts University

Katherine Hite, Vassar College

Margaret Crahan, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

About the panelists:

Margaret Crahan received her Ph.D. from Columbia University where she is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Latin American Studies. From 1982-1994 she was the Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Power and Political Process at Occidental College and from 1993-1994 the Marous Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition she has taught at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Columbia University, Occidental College, St. Peter’s College, and the United Nations. She currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Edward’s University, the Interamerican Institute of Human Rights, and For CHILDREN, Inc. Dr. Crahan has done research and been a member of international missions throughout the world. Her research has entailed topics spanning the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries in Latin American. She has authored/co-authored/ edited/co-edited over one hundred articles and books including Africa and the Caribbean: Legacies of a Link; Human Rights and Basic Needs in the Americas; The City and the World: New York’s Global Future; Religion, Culture and Society: The Case of Cuba; and The Wars on Terrrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and US Foreign Policy . She has served on the Executive Councils of the Latin American Studies Association and the Pacific Coast Council of Latin American Studies, as well as on the Kellogg Institute of the University of Notre Dame, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (Fulbright Program).

Catalina Diaz is a Colombian Lawyer with an LLM from New York University, where she was the recipient of a Global Public Service Law Scholarship. Sponsored by NYU’s Global Public Service Law Project and based at ICTJ, Catalina conducted comparative research on reparations for victims in contexts of massive violations of human rights, before joining ICTJ as a Program Associate Fellow. Her previous experience includes 3 years at the Colombian Commission of Jurists in Bogota (Colombia). For the CCJ, she led a consultative process for Colombian human rights NGOs on human rights conditions tied to US military aid, and advised rural Afro-Colombian communities on humanitarian law matters. She has also worked as a law clerk at the Constitutional Court of Colombia.

Marifeli Pérez-Stable is vice president for democratic governance at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, DC. Presently she is on leave of absence from Miami’s Florida International University where she is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology. She is author of The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy (Oxford University Press, 1993; 2nd edition 1999) and editor of Looking Forward: Cuba’s Pending Transition in Comparative Perspective (forthcoming, University of Notre Dame Press) and is working on a short political biography of Fidel Castro (Polity Press). In 2003 she was a fellow at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Relations and in 2001 she was a Fulbright Fellow at the Instituto Universitario Ortega y Gasset in Madrid.

Peter Winn received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1972. He has held teaching positions at Tufts and Princeton University as well as, Visiting Lecturer positions at Columbia University, the University of the Republic (Montevideo, Uraguay), Yale University, and Wellesley College. In addition to his distinguished teaching career, Dr. Winn has been involved with the Latin American Studies Association, the Roosevelt Center for American Policy Studies, OXFAM-America, and the Ibero-American Book Prize Committee. He has consulted with the Social Science Research Council, The Brooklyn Museum, The Ford Foundation, The History Book Club, and WGBH Educational Foundation, in addition to serving as the senior editor of the International Labor and Working Class History. Much of his research has focused the Contemporary History of Chile including issues of political economy, labor movements, and democratic transition. Select Publications include: Weavers of Revolution: The Yarur Workers and Chile’s Road to Socialism;  Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean; Victims of the Chilean Miracle: Workers and Neoliberalism in the Pinochet Era, 1973-2000; Inglaterra y la tierra purpúrea, vol. 1. A la búsqueda del imperio económico, 1806-1880. Montevideo: Universidad de la República, 1998.

Katherine Hite is Associate Professor of Political Science at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She is the author of When the Romance Ended: Leaders of the Chilean Left, 1968-1998 (Columbia University Press, 2000) and co-editor of Authoritarian Legacies and Democracy in Latin America and Southern Europe (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004). Her current research is on political elites and traumatic political memories, focusing on the politics of commemoration.