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Argentina’s Human Rights Trials


Gabriele Andreozzi

The current situation in Argentina is unprecedented. In compliance with prescribed timings and procedures, the crimes committed by the state in recent history are being prosecuted and penalized. This book traces the path of the trials for crimes against humanity in Argentina, from the Trial of the Juntas that began during the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín to current developments under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, analysing the ideas of memory, truth and justice. In the volume, judges, lawyers, historians, journalists and witnesses from the era of terror give a lucid and critical reconstruction of the last thirty years. The contributors also point to other states where crimes against humanity are still being committed on a daily basis, despite being notionally proscribed.
This book is translated from Spanish, originally appearing under the title Juicios por crímenes de lesa humanidad en Argentina (2011).
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Memory allows us to communicate: through it we can recover the meaning of words; it permits us to move around in our environment and recognize ourselves; memory gives us a past and a future.

Past events must be addressed through a process of redefining perspectives in understanding a society and in the ability to re-elaborate the present.

The 1970s represents, on a global level, a period of cultural ferment which created alternative political models, but it is also thought of as a period during which states institutionalized, at different levels and with different modalities, the use of violence so as to suppress aspirations for social justice.

Governments monopolize the “legitimacy” of the use of violence through the method of the exclusion of the other, who is stigmatized as an enemy of society. Prisons, centres for the identification and expulsion of immigrants in Europe, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, secret detention centres in Argentina, the Nazi concentration camps, represent – each one with its own distinctions and peculiarities – structured and disciplined punitive forms of the perennial dialectic of “discipline and punish” in the constant establishment of public order. It is the perfect realization of a two-faced state, or dual state, together with the advanced realization of a regime of “authoritarian democracy” in which dehumanization is raised to legality with the consequent separation of formal and substantive law.

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