Victims’ narratives of the Chilean military dictatorship: has justice been done? An analysis of victim participation, needs and perceptions of justice in the aftermath of the dictatorship.

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Punishment and criminal justice
    • Human rights law
Chilean dictatorship
Project description

Although Chile is currently democratic, the effects of the military dictatorship are still present in society. This research analyses the ways in which victims of the dictatorship (1973-1990), participated in and perceived the post-1990 justice process. How were they involved? What were their expectations, needs and experiences? In order to answer these questions, a literature review, document analysis of truth commissions and court cases, and qualitative interviews with 60 victims + 16 professionals will be conducted. The effects of victim participation in transitional justice on victims’ perceptions and needs of justice will be addressed by comparing four groups of victims: (1) victims that participated in criminal justice procedures, (2) victims that participated in truth commission testimonies, (3) victims that participated in both, and (4) victims that did not participate. The research provides insight in the effect of participation on victims’ perceptions and needs of justice. It also contributes to understanding the long-term consequences of victim participation in post-conflict contexts and better tailor future interventions. It furthermore addresses the more fundamental question whether victim participation is at all desirable if the core assumptions of transitional justice are not open to negotiation. Lastly, the research studies the potential for restorative justice in meeting the needs of justice and repair the harm of victims of human rights violations.