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What Justice? Whose Justice?Fighting for Fairness in Latin America$
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Susan Eva Eckstein and Timothy Wickham-Crowley

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237445

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237445.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 23 July 2021

Perpetrators' Confessions

Perpetrators' Confessions

Truth, Reconciliation, and Justice in Argentina

(p.158) CHAPTER SIX Perpetrators' Confessions
What Justice? Whose Justice?

Susan Eva Eckstein

Timothy P. Wickham-Crowley

University of California Press

Truth-finding mechanisms have become popular instruments for redressing injustices perpetuated by erstwhile repressive regimes in Latin America. This chapter focuses on an extremely contentious part of this process, and perpetrators' confession and its effect on the progress of the truth-finding projects. Confessions contribute to restorative justice, that is, restoring wholeness to the lives and relationships of victims of criminal offenses. By exposing the truth through perpetrators' confessions, governments publicly acknowledge past wrongs, and sometimes even accept responsibility for crimes committed by past regimes. In addition, perpetrators' confessions may provide the only conclusive evidence that makes it possible for governments to issue legal death certificates and to expunge criminal records fabricated by past authoritarian regimes. Four instances of Argentine confessions constitute the database of this inquiry. Exposing state terrorism in retrospection relegates the difficult times to history and hence accelerates societal healing at present.

Keywords:   perpetrators' confession, conclusive evidence, societal healing, death certificate, restorative justice

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