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Dr Francesca Lessa and Dr Diego Sanchez-Ancochea of Oxford University's Latin American Centre have partnered with the Observatorio Luz Ibarburu (Uruguay), the Ministry of Justice (Chile) and the Ministry of Justice (Brazil) to debate and develop appropriate and effective public policies to redress transnational crimes.

Justice without borders accountability for transnational crimes in south america

In this globalised world, judiciaries from all countries increasingly have to respond to transnational crimes.  South America, where the trade in drugs, arms and people crosses borders with impunity, is no exception. 

Dr Francesca Lessa and Dr Diego Sanchez-Ancochea of Latin American Centre of Oxford’s School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies have partnered with the Observatorio Luz Ibarburu (Uruguay), the Ministry of Justice (Chile) and the Ministry of Justice (Brazil) to debate and develop appropriate and effective public policies to redress crimes perpetrated by multiple states.

To do so, this project takes the Operation Condor trial in Argentina as a case study.  Operation Condor was a transnational network set up by the regimes of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay to facilitate the persecution of political opponents throughout South America, resulting in illegal detentions, assassinations, and disappearances in the 1970s and 1980s.  Beginning in March 2013, twenty-five former high-ranking military officers from Argentina and Uruguay went on trial in Buenos Aires for crimes committed during Operation Condor.

Since October 2014, Dr Lessa has been in Buenos Aires on-site monitoring the trial.  In December 2015, in Santiago (Chile), the team brought together academics, human rights activists, legal professionals and government officials in the first of three conferences and roundtable discussions to be held as part of this project to draw out lessons learned and best ways forward in investigating transnational crimes.  These are discussed through blogs and policy briefs with inputs from NGO and academic partners, and culminate in a report on accountability for transnational crimes in South America and the role of public policy and the state. 

Although this project is only a small part of what would be a much larger political undertaking, the team ultimately hopes their work will form part of the impetus for the creation of a Regional Truth Commission.

This project was funded by Oxford's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

Themes