The long road to justice: establishing the rule of law in post-war El Salvador and Guatemala
Shepard, Scott J
Tollefson, Scott D.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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After years of virtual civil wars, insurgents in El Salvador (1992) and Guatemala (1996) signed Peace Accords with their governments. This thesis examines the peace processes in El Salvador and Guatemala and focuses on the establishment of the rule of law after years of civil war as a precondition for democratic consolidation. The issue areas investigated are: the redefinition of the role of the armed forces in the state; the demilitarization of the police forces; judicial reform; and how these states deal with past human rights violations which have occurred during the wars, with particular emphasis on the issue of impunity. The thesis argues-that while significant progress has been made in establishing the rule of law since the signing of the Peace Accords, there are still areas of concern which may forestall democratic consolidation. The primary mission of the militaries of both countries has been shifted to external defense. Civilian police forces have been established and they have been removed from military control. Despite these facts, the military is still playing a limited internal policing role in support of the police forces. Judicial reform has progressed in both countries but this area is still in need of more attention and funding. Human rights abuses and the issue of impunity have received much attention in both countries, but the passage of amnesty laws in both countries, which prevent the prosecution of those who committed human rights abuses during the civil wars, has perpetuated a sense of military and governmental impunity
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