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Timing, Sequencing, and Transitional Justice Impact: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Latin America

Abstract

Transitional justice (TJ) scholars are increasingly concerned with measuring the impact of transitional justice initiatives. Scholars often assume that TJ mechanisms must be properly designed and ordered to achieve lasting effect, but the impact of TJ timing and sequencing has attracted relatively little theoretical or empirical attention. Focusing on Latin America, this article explores variation within the region as to when TJ occurs and the order in which mechanisms are implemented. We utilize qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to assess the impact of TJ timing and sequencing on democratic development. We find little evidence for path dependency owing to the chronological order of mechanisms. We do find, however, that amnesties and trials approach a sufficient condition for democratic consolidation in Latin America; trials, however, come closest to being a necessary condition for successful democratic consolidation.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In this section, we define breakdown according to the REGTRANS variable in Polity IV, and the Political Terror Scale (PTS). If Polity IV registers a shift from democracy to autocracy, we label the country as having experienced a breakdown. We also label the transition a breakdown if the country ever again reached a 4 or higher on PTS.

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Correspondence to Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm.

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Dancy, G., Wiebelhaus-Brahm, E. Timing, Sequencing, and Transitional Justice Impact: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Latin America. Hum Rights Rev 16, 321–342 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12142-015-0374-2

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Keywords

  • Latin America
  • Transitional justice
  • Qualitative comparative analysis
  • Fuzzy sets
  • Amnesties
  • Human rights trials