Monday, April 16, 2007

Slaking a Thirst for Justice

During the 1970 in Chile and Argentina there was a military coup that place an authoritarian dictatorship in charge of the nations. Under their rule all individuals seen as possible threats to their power were detained, tortured, and killed. Today the families of the detained peoples want justice for the human rights violations inflicted on their family members. Many argue for moving on rather than re-opening old wounds. Others reply that without justice there can be no healing and no guarantee of the rule of law. What do you think? Should those crimes committed in the past, and those who committed the atrocities be brought to justice 30 years later? I concur with what the article later goes on to say. “The rise of international human-rights law has helped those who argue that in cases involving the worst crimes justice must never be sacrificed to peace. Where conflict continues that principle may be hard to apply. Its proponents say justice is essential not just as an end in itself but to deter future tyrants. Until recently, most could expect to get off scot-free. Increasingly, other countries may follow the road pioneered by Chile and Argentina.”

3 comments:

Iowa said...

The human rights abuses perpetrated by leaders like Pinochet must be addressed. Unless these people are punished for the crimes they committed, it will be impossible for the victims to move on. The argument that it would just open old wounds is void. Justice has never been served, which means that wounds really never have had a chance to heal, nor will they until this issue is resolved.

zain said...

Let us talk about some issues here. Yes, it is very important to bring everyone to justice who violated human rights during the military regimes in Argentina and Chile. If the international community turns its back to the atrocities committed in the South American countries under consideration, many tyrants across the globe may perceive it as a signal of international community's diffidence. The chain reacion may engulf most of the unstable countries across the globe, and lead to the emergence egregious humanitarian crises. The international community should continue to use the United Nations as a platform to bring the state agents and representatives of brutal regimes before the court. However, at this point let us consider the effectiveness of such trials and cases. The case of Melosevic is probably the most importatnt example in this regard. Milosevic's trial left the Bosnians and Serbians angry and dissappointed. Neither of the two parties was satisfied by the fashion in which the trial was carried out. In the process of making an example out of Melosevic, the international community alienated itself from both Serbia and Bosnia. As I mentioned earlier, it is important to bring brutal leaders to justice, but the international community must unanimously decide that how such trials should be carried out so that there is no chance of making a biased decision.

Anna M said...

Those guilty of atrocities should definitely be brought to trial, even if their crimes occured 30 years ago or more. I am skeptical to believe though that justice will actually be served in their respective countries. It seems that most will not be found guilty by a court and given punishment. If so many years have passed without such people ever having to answer for their actions it is because they have protection from supporters and/or governmental officials. And even when they are found guilty their sentence is often a simple house arrest because of their old age. They live in the comfort and luxury of their homes after having spent their younger years in freedom. For most, by the time their supporters and protectors are no longer in the government or influential it is because they are dead. By this time, the leaders are often also dead. For many years in Mexico, former presidents Diaz Ordaz and Luis Echeverria were investigated for the killings of student protesters in 1968 and 1971. Finally Echeverria was issued an arrest warrant on November 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5135378.stm. Diaz Ordaz was never put to trial; he died in 1979. The idea though of the international community bringing to trial these leaders is more plausible. Charging and bringing them to trial through international check will probably not have to wait 30 years.