Center for Global Studies

Human Rights, Global Justice & Democracy Project

The Human Rights, Global Justice & Democracy in Latin America project is an initiative funded by the Open Society Institute, hosted by the Center for Global Studies, and directed by Dr. Jo-Marie Burt, faculty member of the Department of Public and International Affairs at Mason. The project explores efforts to combat impunity and promote the rule of law and democratic governance from a comparative perspective, focusing particularly on Latin America and Africa.

Phase one of the project analyzed and evaluated the trial of Fujimori in comparative perspective through a two-part conference series in Lima (June 25-26, 2008) and Washington, D.C. (October 2, 2008). The international symposia were a collaborative initiative of the Center for Global Studies at GMU; the Legal Defense Institute (IDL), a human rights organization based in Lima, Peru; and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), an advocacy group based in Washington. They provided a forum for scholars, jurists, human rights lawyers, and activists to analyze and reflect upon the Fujimori and other human rights trials in Latin America. The specific objective of of the conference series was to explore the legal and political dimensions of the Fujimori trial as well as the broader political and social significance of the trial to promote debate and discussion within Peru and the rest of Latin America, as well as among U.S. academicians, activists, and policy makers. The conference series also provided an opportunity to highlight the efforts of Latin American civil society to promote justice and accountability through the judicial process, and the extent to which, and in what ways, this process contributes to democratic consolidation.

Phase two of the project looked at accountability issues from a cross-regional perspective, focusing on cases from Africa and Latin America. An international symposium, held in Washington, D.C., on May 6, 2009, brought together scholars, practitioner, and activists to explore existing and emergent institutions of accountability after mass atrocity. Participants also examined the variety and varied success of justice initiatives in these contexts, while exploring several key issues from a comparative perspective.

In spring 2010 the project also launched a film series 'Global Justice: Responses From Around the World to Mass Atrocities.' For pdf file with schedule click here.

The Legal Defense Institute (IDL) and Mason organized an international symposium in Lima (Peru) on the impact of the Fujimori trial to fight impunity in Peru and around the world on May 19 and 20, 2010. La Transcendencia del Juicio a Fujimori para la Lucha Contra la Impunidad en el Peru y el Mundo, was held at the Centro de Convenciones del Colegio Medico del Peru. Click here for pdf file of the invitation.


To learn more about the Fujimori trial click here.

To view slide show on Fujimori trial and human rights tribunals in Latin America click here or on the image below.


Project-related publications


Human Rights Trials in Comparative Perspective

Rapporteur's Report on international symposium, Washington, D.C., May 2009,""Accountability After Mass Atrocity: Latin American and African Examples in Compartive Perspective".

The Fujimori Trial

Guilty as Charged: The Trial of Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for Human Rights Violations by Jo-Marie Burt, in International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2009, pp. 384-405.

Working Papers Series on Human Rights, Global Justice and Democracy.

Rapporteur's Report on international symposium, Washington, D.C., October 2008,"Human Rights Tribunals in Latin America: The Fujimori Trial in Comparative Perspective".

For Spanish version click here.

Report on Lima (Peru) June 2008 conference "Los Culpables por la Violación de los Derechos Humanos" (in Spanish).

Reports on the Fujimori Trial:


In the Press


Accountability after Mass Atrocity: Human Rights Trials in Comparative Perspective



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