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This book analyses Chile’s “truth and justice” policies implemented between 1990 and 2013. The book’s central assumption is that human rights policies are a form of public policy and consequently they are the product of compromises among different political actors. Because of their political nature, these incomplete “truth and justice” policies instead of satisfying the victims’ demands and providing a mechanism for closure and reconciliation generate new demands and new policies and actions. However, these new policies and actions are partially satisfactory to those pursuing justice and the truth and unacceptable to those trying to protect the impunity structure built by General Pinochet and his supporters. Thus, while the 40th anniversary of the violent military coup that brought General Pinochet to power serves as a milestone with which to end this policy analysis, Chile’s human rights historical drama is unfinished and likely to generate new demands for truth and justice policies.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Transitional Justice: A Short Introduction

Abstract
This chapter contains a brief discussion of the concept of transitional justice and of the transitional justice policies that are applicable to Chile. The chapter’s focus is on the main transitional justice policies implemented in Chile between 1990 and 2014 including amnesties, trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, reparations, apologies, and memorials. Additionally, the chapter discusses the scholarly contributions made by Steven Stern, Cath Collins, Kathryn Sikkink, Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Brian Loveman, and Elizabeth Lira among others.
Additionally, the chapter discusses what countries can and cannot do as they transition away from authoritarian rule. The choice depends both on the economic situation of the country (Tricia Olsen and Leigh Payne) and on the political power of the previous regime. As these two conditions evolve, the opportunities to pursue truth and justice policies increase.
Silvia Borzutzky

2. The Pinochet Dictatorship: The Destruction of Society and the Construction of Impunity

Abstract
This chapter contains an analysis of the goals and ideology of the Pinochet dictatorship and a summary discussion of the abuses, the abusers, and their collaborators. A brief analysis of the main human rights organizations formed during the dictatorship is also included. The goal of the chapter is not to provide an exhaustive description of the massive human rights abuses that took place between 1973 and 1989, but to provide a background to the human rights policies enacted between 1990 and 2013, and to highlight some of the worst atrocities committed by the regime
The chapter concludes that human rights abuses involved the actions and omissions of many participants including General Pinochet who ordered the crimes, the military personnel under his control and by the all-powerful Directorate of National Intelligence and Central Nacional de Informaciones whose members bragged about torturing and killing other human beings and terrorizing the society. The venerable Chilean Courts made a mockery of justice, served as accomplices to the crimes of the dictatorship, and failed in their basic mission of administering justice and protecting the citizens against government abuse. The right-wing politicians and Chile’s business class who unabatedly provided economic, intellectual, and political support to the dictatorship were also accomplices.
Silvia Borzutzky

3. The Aylwin Administration: Doing As Much As Possible

Abstract
This chapter starts with a discussion of the limited nature of the transition to democracy, the nature of politics during Aylwin’s four years; the limited political space given to President Aylwin due to the restrictions imposed by the 1980 Constitution; and the inability of the Concertación politicians to modify the charter. In turn, the limited power of the President, the Amnesty Decree, and the presence of General Pinochet as Commander in Chief of the Army restricted, both legally and psychologically, the nature of human rights policies. The chapter focuses on President Aylwin’s notion that he did whatever he could, or as much as he could, in the very narrow political space given to him by the threatening and subversive actions of the former dictator and the uncompromising opposition of Unión Democrática Independiente. As a result, those involved in the crimes committed between 1973 and 1989 continued to enjoy power and impunity. The chapter analyzes specific human rights policies, including the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the role of the courts, and a failed set of legislative actions to consolidate the architecture of impunity.
Silvia Borzutzky

4. The Frei Administration and the Politics of Denial

Abstract
The Frei administration’s human rights policies and decisions are divided in two periods: before and after 1998, or before and after the detention of General Pinochet in London. The period between 1994 and 1998 was characterized by apathy and actual disregard for human rights and as a result the administration introduced bills geared to end the trials, maintained friendly relations with General Pinochet, and supported the military’s interpretation of the Amnesty Decree. In the aftermath of General Pinochet’s detention in London in 1998, there was new life infused into those concerned with human rights abuses, as well as creative thinking on the part of the members of the judicial branch who were willing to address the human rights crimes of the past. The chapter analyzes executive, legislative, and judicial actions, pays special attention to the Human Rights Roundtable, military-executive relations, and new judicial actions. The Human Rights Roundtable, or Mesa de Diálogo, generated in turn new actions of the part of human rights groups and others, which are analyzed in the next chapter.
Silvia Borzutzky

5. The Lagos Administration: Moving Along Multiple Fronts

Abstract
President Lagos’ major accomplishment was to forge the political compromises needed to pass the 2005 Constitutional reforms, which eliminated the most undemocratic vestiges of Pinochet’s 1980 Constitution. During these six years the Courts began to move at a much faster speed because of the judicial reforms carried out during the Frei administration and the military doctrine changed due to General Cheyre’s reforms. The work of Judge Guzmán and others made possible the indictment of Generals Pinochet and Arellano, and a number of other military officers.
President Lagos’ policies contributed to bringing light onto the use of torture and political imprisonment by establishing the Valech Commission and by repeatedly denouncing the abuses. Compensating the victims was also an important step in the right direction. But, much like in the past, accessing the truth was limited by the conditions under which the Commission operated and by the fact that only victims were identified and not the torturers. In brief, the chapter focuses on the 2005 constitutional reforms, the Valech Commission’s functions and report, the presidential apologies, reparations, and normalizing the situation of both former political prisoners and exiles.
Silvia Borzutzky

6. The Bachelet Administration: Identifying and Remembering the Victims

Abstract
The focus of this chapter is on a series of distinct, but impactful executive actions that expanded the role of the Commission on Illegal Imprisonment (Valech Commission); facilitated the identification of those murdered by the Pinochet dictatorship; and focused on the construction of museums and memorials to honor the victims and immortalize the repression. The legislative branch supported executive actions by funding these activities and creating new human rights bureaucracies or expanding previously existing ones. As opposed to previous administrations, during the Bachelet years there was a much closer relationship between the administration and the human rights organizations. The administration established mechanisms to facilitate the collaboration with the organizations, and the organizations were actively involved in the policy process.
Justice continued to move at a glacial pace and when the courts reached verdicts, the sentences were not commensurate with the crimes due to the judicial exceptions discussed in the chapter. The chapter concludes that victim identification and the construction of The Memory Museum and memorials throughout the country have all contributed to unveiling the truth and repairing some of the damage.
Silvia Borzutzky

7. Commemorating Chile’s Bicentennial and the Coup’s 40th Anniversary During the Piñera Administration

Abstract
While celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chile’s independence and celebrating or mourning the 40th anniversary of the coup, President Piñera had to confront the past by pursuing several paradoxical policies: denying pardons, closing luxury prisons, continuing with the promotions of military officers involved in human rights abuses, and apologizing for crimes that he never supported. The major accomplishments of the administration were the streamlining of the procedural process; the reduction of the functions of the military courts; and proposing changes in the financing of the Armed Forces. Meanwhile, the 200th anniversary of the country’s independence and the 40th anniversary of the coup provided the space for belated apologies on the part of members of the courts and some right- and left-wing politicians.
Silvia Borzutzky

8. Conclusions

Abstract
The conclusions summarize some of the essential questions raised in the preceding chapters and it deals with the question of impunity and its many configurations. In the final analysis, these “truth and justice” policies are by definition partial and thus, instead of satisfying the victims’ demands and providing a mechanism for closure and reconciliation, as expected by many, generate demands for new policies and actions leaving Chile’s human rights historical drama totally unfinished.
Silvia Borzutzky

Backmatter

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