The Pinochet Case

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1. Introduction and case overview. The Pinochet case was a media sensation in the end of the 1990s, well known by the general public as well as by jurists and vigorously celebrated by human rights advocates. It is claimed to have been an example of the successful use of universal jurisdiction and a twist in the understanding of immunity granted to state officials. Why is it considered a milestone? On which grounds did the court based such an unprecedented decision? This paper is an attempt to briefly address these questions. In the next paragraphs, I will, first, examine the circumstances of the case, second, the grounds and arguments of the court’s decision and last, the significance of the case to international law. In 1998, a quarter of…show more content…
The relevance of the case in international law. The Pinochet case established and important legal precedent. It made the world aware of Pinochet’s crimes and inspired new legal efforts against dictators and human rights violators all over the planet. One of the most famous cases said to have been inspired by the Pinochet case was the one of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré In addition to that, another great relevance of Pinochet’s extradition requests in Europe, was creating a political will for prosecutions at home, finally giving visibility to decades of militancy of victims, human rights advocates and lawyers in whole Latin America and in other parts of the world. In Chile, According to Stacie Jonas, the perception that the international community considered Pinochet a criminal, brought human rights issues back to the headlines and gave victims back their voices. His arrest motivated people to submit an avalanche of new cases against the former dictator. The Chilean courts removed many of Pinochet-appointed judges and promoted a reinterpretation of the country’s amnesty law. Shortly after Pinochet had arrived back home, Judge Juan Guzmán requested the courts to destitute the former head of state of his parliamentary immunity and ordered him to be placed under house arrest. Pinochet’s arrest in London also paved the way for the prosecution of other Chilean military officials and inspired new accountability efforts in Argentina. President Kirchner, in 2003, ratified the UN Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes against Humanity and in the same year, the Argentinean Congress annulled the country’s amnesty law, what
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