Paraguay's Truth and Justice Commission: Recommending justice without political change

Félix Reátegui

Producción científica: Capítulo del libro/informe/acta de congresoCapítulorevisión exhaustiva


INTRODUCTION In 2003, the Paraguayan State responded to society's demands for truth about the Stroessner dictatorship (1954 – 89) by creating the Truth and Justice Commission (Comisión de Verdad y Justicia – CVJ). These demands had been expressed in different ways after the end of the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner in 1989. Institutions such as the Paraguayan branch of the American Association of Jurists and the Ethical Tribunal Against Impunity, created in 1993, promoted public denunciation of human rights abuses, providing a space to listen to the victims and dictating symbolic sentences against perpetrators. These initiatives prepared the political context for the creation and public acceptance of the CVJ years later (Arellano 2012). The Commission of Truth and Justice was created with the mandate to investigate the crimes and abuses committed by the 35-year-long dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. The creation of the CVJ was preceded by some initiatives towards memorialization and the discovery of the “Archives of Terror” in a facility of the Police Investigative Department in 1992. The archives gather a massive amount of documentation from the dictatorship era containing information about detainees; confidential reports of individual surveillance; surveillance of opposition political parties, students’ groups and labor unions; immigration records; as well as telephone and other forms of domestic surveillance. The creation of a truth-seeking body was also anticipated by the establishment of a mechanism to give monetary reparations to the victims through the Ombudsman Office, and the question arose as to whether the victims would lose interest in demands for truth and justice once economic reparations were paid (Arellano 2012). However, international pressure in favor of human rights policies would not allow the demand for truThto disappear. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reiterated a recommendation to create a commission to work with the database built from the “Archives of Terror” and other sources. The UNESCO mission in Paraguay asked for the creation of a truth commission, and a National Movement of Victims of the Stronist Dictatorship (Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de la Dictadura Stronista – MNVDS) emerged. Active in the mid-2000s, the CVJ conducted its operations without significant obstacles and produced a comprehensive report. The report contained a section of 176 recommendations for reparations, justice, and institutional reform designed to address the consequences of authoritarianism and its root causes. However, the truth-seeking process and its after math were overshadowed by the past.
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Título de la publicación alojadaLatin American Experiences with Truth Commission Recommendations: Beyond Words
Número de páginas58
EstadoPublicada - 19 nov. 2022

Serie de la publicación

NombreLatin American Experiences with Truth Commission Recommendations: Beyond Words

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