Chile: The Search for Justice and Accountability

Michael Shifter, Vice President
for Policy at the Inter-American Dialogue, discusses ending impunity
and the search for truth and reconciliation in Chile. General Augusto
Pinochet seized power in a coup in 1973. Under his seventeen year rule
an estimated 3,000 people died or disappeared, while some 28,000 were
tortured. Chilean Courts stripped the former military ruler of immunity
from prosecution, but while other officers and officials have been
prosecuted, until recently Pinochet was ruled to be too ill to stand
trial. As the web of prosecution now tightens around Pinochet, in
another case Chilean judges have also questioned the former Peruvian
president Alberto Fujimori, who is wanted in Peru on corruption and
human rights charges. In March, a new Chilean government will be sworn
in, led by Michelle Bachelet, a former political prisoner, jailed and
tortured under the Pinochet regime. What are the implications of these
events for truth and reconciliation in Chile? What role has the
international community played in holding these leaders to account?
What do these cases tell us about the search for democracy, justice and
the role of human rights?

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