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Event discusses outlawing amnesty

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Human rights violations and amnesty are the focus of a Valparaiso University School of Law event next week.

Visiting assistant professor of law at Marquette University Law School Lisa J. Laplante will discuss the tension in international human rights law and international criminal law with respect to amnesties. She'll address the issue through the Barrios Altos case, a decision issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2001 that declared unlawful Peru's amnesty laws promulgated in 1995.

Laplante draws on her experiences in Peru to show that international law directly impacts national transitional justice experiences, and argues criminal justice should be carried out rather than granting amnesty.

Until recently, in countries seeking to address past episodes of systematic human rights violations, amnesties were considered an acceptable means of promoting transitional justice, which meant human rights perpetrators went unpunished. In response, truth commissions became a popular alternative to criminal trials. International criminal law lawyers questioned the legality of the resulting amnesties and eventually carved out exceptions for certain international crimes. This discourse suggests it's still possible for nations to resort to amnesties for serious human rights violations during political transitions, and thus impunity.

The event, "Outlawing Amnesty," is from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. CST Nov. 9 in the Ulbricht Classroom in the law school. It's free and open to the public.

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

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  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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