The Pinochet Case -

17 November 2005
Institute for Policy StudiesFacultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)

The Pinochet Case - English version
Lessons from a 30-Year Transnational Struggle Against Impunity
El caso Pinochet - Versión español
Lecciones de 30 años de una lucha transnacional contra la impunidad

Santiago, Chile, 14 November 2003
Co-Sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) - Chile

Position Paper Questions

IPS and FLACSO-Chile asked panelists to respond to the following questions in their expositions and papers.

PANEL 1. Three Decades of Promoting Human Rights in Chile

After the 1973 military coup, people in Chile and around the world mounted highly visible public campaigns against the Pinochet dictatorship. One must consider these previous decades of work on behalf of human rights in Chile in order to understand the lessons from the transnational campaign to bring Pinochet to justice in the late 90s.


  1. What factors contributed to the unique international reaction to the coup and human rights violations in Chile? In other words, why did the name Pinochet become synonymous with dictatorship and human rights violations in the international community?
  2. How did Chile become the catalyst for the formation of the international human rights movement?
  3. What were some of the most successful international and Chilean advocacy and solidarity campaigns that developed during the during the Pinochet dictatorship?
  4. How did human rights work in Chile and abroad change in the 1990s? How was the pursuit of truth and justice kept alive in the early 90s?

PANEL 2. Power in Movement: Mobilization and Advocacy around the Pinochet Case

After Pinochet's arrest in London, human rights advocates and civil society groups in Chile and around the world immediately mounted public campaigns in support of holding the General accountable for his crimes. These efforts kept public attention focused on the work done by lawyers and judges in the courtrooms.


  1. What were the most successful mobilization and advocacy campaigns that developed in Chile and abroad after Pinochet's 1998 arrest? How did these campaigns change after Pinochet's return to Chile?
  2. How did groups in different countries collaborate on these campaigns?
  3. What were the main challenges to mobilization and advocacy around the Pinochet case?
  4. What are the lessons for other activists and future generations that can be drawn from your work around this case?

PANEL 3. Lessons from Pinochet Case Legal Strategies

The Spanish case against Pinochet and the extradition proceedings in London brought the issues of universal jurisdiction, sovereign immunity, and the implementation of international human rights treaties to the forefront of international legal debate. The Spanish and Chilean cases against Pinochet also raised important questions about the most effective strategies for bringing human rights violators to justice.


  1. What were the most effective legal strategies used to hold Pinochet and other Chilean officials accountable in Chile and abroad?
  2. What were the biggest challenges to advancing these cases?
  3. To what extent did the international legal cases facilitate legal action against Pinochet in Chile? What kind of coordination existed between the cases in Chile and those brought in other countries?
  4. How were legal cases and extradition requests brought by multiple countries (in Europe and the U.S.) useful in generating political support for the extradition and trial of Pinochet?
  5. What are the lessons that can be drawn from the Pinochet cases for other human rights advocates and lawyers who may want to pursue similar cases in the future?
  6. PANEL 4. The Role of the Press and the Pinochet Case

    Developments in the Pinochet case were covered extensively in the international and Chilean press. These press reports brought the issue of human rights abuses in Chile back to the headlines and also played a crucial role in shaping public and political opinion around the Pinochet case.


    1. Why did the Pinochet case receive such tremendous coverage in the international press?
    2. How did international press coverage of the Pinochet case affect press coverage of the case in Chile?
    3. How did press coverage and investigative journalism in Chile and abroad affect the legal cases against Pinochet and other Chilean military officers?
    4. How can human rights advocates work with press to generate support for human rights legal cases such as the Pinochet case?