LAC Staff and Researchers present project findings at Chatham House in London

Chatham House, LAC, Amnesty, Human Rights

On October 31, Professor Leigh Payne, Dr Francesca Lessa, and Gabriel Pereira presented at Chatham House some of the preliminary conclusions and policy implications emanating from their research on the controversial issue of amnesty laws for atrocities in the aftermath of transitions from authoritarian rule and/or conflict.

The seminar at Chatham House was attended by an interested and varied audience of government and ministry officials, academics, students, a representative of the British Army, NGOs, a representative from one of the project's funders (Oak Foundation), and members of the public.

Using the transitional justice data set they created, the presenters explored whether the so-called ‘age of human rights accountability’ has shifted patterns of amnesty law adoption and if those trends have improved accountability processes. They paid particular attention to the experience of Latin America - a global leader in the enactment of amnesty laws for human rights violations as well as a pioneer in the creative attempts of challenging these laws to obtain justice.

In terms of policy implications, the presenters highlighted the importance of the capacity of different actors and factors in challenging the legality and validity of amnesties, emphasizing especially the role of civil society actors and judicial leaders.