Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


International Relations


Maurits van der Veen

Committee Members

Michael J. Tierney

Betsy Konefal

Donald E. Campbell


Brazil and Argentina, despite geographic proximity and similar histories of oppressive military dictatorships, have pursued decidedly different policies toward judicial accountability for crimes committed during the regime period. In Brazil, amnesty persists, while in Argentina, prosecutions started in 2005. These opposing policies beg the question: what factors determine the introduction and persistence of amnesty laws in a post-conflict reconstruction process? This paper uses comparative case studies to investigate the impact of the type of transition a society undergoes, as well as the role of the judiciary, the executive, human rights organizations, external actors, and public opinion in predicting a country's approach to justice for former offenders. The results suggest that the role of the executive and judiciary are of primary importance in abrogating or affirming amnesty, while human rights organizations and external actors can play a substantial role in establishing accountability if they are able to influence decision-making bodies. More fundamentally, the factors explaining why amnesty is introduced and maintained are interconnected, and a combination of forces are necessary to establish individual accountability measures.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only