Anthony Pereira (King’s College London): Progress or Perdition? Brazil’s National Truth Comission in Comparative Perspective

In the second meeting of the International Dialogues in Constitutional Law series in 2017, held on May 17, Anthony Pereira (King’s College London) presented his lecture entitled Progress or Perdition? Brazil’s National Truth Commission in Comparative Perspective.

Pereira presented the main reasons that led him to write about transitional justice in Brazil. In particular, he focused on two reasons: the first is that transitional justice in Brazil began long after the key events of the authoritarian period, especially if compared to other Latin American countries; and, second, the apparent inaccuracy of the official data on violence during the authoritarian period: unlike the case in other Latin American countries, the data shows that violence is much higher now than during the authoritarian regime.

Pereira also discussed the lessons he learned after analyzing the transitional justice in Brazil. He argued that in order to effectively understand the results produced by the Truth Commission, it is necessary to fully understand its institutional context. Moreover, he argued that transitional justice should be analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective, not only from the perspective of the social sciences, but also from a normative and ethical perspective.

Roberto Gargarella (University of Buenos Aires): The New Latin-American Constitutionalism: a too old constitutionalism?

In the first meeting of the International Dialogues in Constitutional Law series in 2017, on April 19, our guest was Roberto Gargarella, from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

In his lecture, Gargarella presented the reasons why, in his view, the new Latin American constitutionalism has not been able to respond effectively to contemporary challenges.

According to Gargarella, the main function of constitutionalism is to cope with the dramas of its time. The first constitutions of Latin America attempted to respond to the question of how to organize power.

The contemporary Latin American constitutions face a distinct challenge: the massive violations of human rights by the Latin American states. To this end, the adopted strategy has been the accumulation of declarations of rights, many of them with conflicting goals: classical liberal rights, social rights, transindividual rights and rights provided for in international human rights treaties.

One major problem with this strategy lies in the fact that it does not affect power structures, and this undermines the enforcement of rights.

Roberto Gargarella (Univ. de Buenos Aires): too much ‘old’ in the ‘new’ Latin American constitutionalism?

Our International Dialogues in Constitutional Law series starts off 2017 with Roberto Gargarella (Univ. de Buenos Aires). Tomorrow, we host Professor Gargarella for his lecture “Too much ‘old’ in the ‘new’ Latin American constitutionalism?”. Earlier today, he joined us for a discussion on his working paper about dialogic constitutionalism.