Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)

Conflict and Peacebuilding Speaker Series

Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America

21Sept2017 12:00 - 13:30


The PETGOV and TCCG programme groups invite staff and students to the inaugural meeting of the new Conflict and Peacebuilding Speaker Series. Ezequiel González Ocantos (Associate Professor, University of Oxford) will present his prize-winning book 'Shifting Legal Visions: Judicial Change and Human Rights Trials in Latin America', published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.

What explains the success of criminal prosecutions against former Latin American officials accused of human rights violations? Why did some judiciaries evolve from unresponsive bureaucracies into protectors of victim rights? Using a theory of judicial action inspired by sociological institutionalism, Ezequiel González Ocantos argues that this was the result of deep transformations in the legal preferences of judges and prosecutors.

Judicial actors discarded long-standing positivist legal criteria, historically protective of conservative interests, and embraced doctrines grounded in international human rights law, which made possible innovative readings of constitutions and criminal codes. Litigants were responsible for this shift in legal visions by activating informal mechanisms of ideational change and providing the skills necessary to deal with complex and unusual cases.

Through an in-depth exploration of the interactions between judges, prosecutors and human rights lawyers in three countries, Ezequiel asks how changing ideas about the law and standards of adjudication condition the exercise of judicial power.
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Contact Ursula Daxecker or Jana Krause

Location: Roeterseiland Campus, REC B 9.22 (Common Room)

  • Roeterseilandcampus - building B/C/D (entrance B/C)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    Building B: +31 (0)20 525 5340 | Building C: +31 (0)20 525 5470

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Published by  AISSR