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From the Archive
Fatwas Part Seventy-Four
A propos de l'article intitulé (Les principes des exigences minimales pour l'introduction du changement en Egypte), écrit par le penser égyptien M. Amin Al-Mahdi
Fatwas Part One-Hundred-and-Twenty-Eight
What It Takes to Be Here
(The Spirit ( The Holy Ghost ) ( Al Rouh ) :
Quranic Terminology: ''Retinue'': The Black Comedy of the Decision-Making Circle:
The False Alarm of Evangelism
The Absolute Truth in Relation to Human Knowledge within this Transient World
We Have Lived Feeling Our Egyptian Nationality as a Disgrace:
The Night When Muhammad Died
"Woe to the Defrauders." (Quran 83:1) And Woe to the Tyrants who Trade with Millions of the Wealth of the Nations
Quranic Terminology: That Day
This Shiite Abdul-Hussein
Features of the Pharaonic Kingdom of Torture within the Quranic Chapter 28
Religious Freedom at Congressional Hearing on
"N'avez-vous pas vu ceux qui ont échangé la Bonté de Dieu avec la mécréance..." (Coran 14:28)
Is it possible to reform the Saudi State?
The Sunnite Religion Contained the Sufi Religion to face the Shiite Religion
An Overview on the Link among Armies, Wealth, and Authority
The Logic of the Military Rule in Egypt
Uruguay and the Transition to Democracy

Right after ending the military rule in Uruguay, the new transitional government led by the president, and former prisoner, Sanguinetti faced the accountability dilemma. Should the perpetrators of the military regime be held accountable to their acts? If they should be trailed, how far should the trails go? How many should it include?
In order to objectively discuss this issue, I will rely on a book written by Lawrence Weschler, A Miracle, A Universe. Settling accounts with Torturers. In this book, the writer interviews the three sides of the triangle- The military, the president, many human rights activists. As mentioned before, the president of Uruguay- Sanguinetti- was himself imprisoned by the military. He was released out of jail just because he was elected president. The president first issues an amnesty law to free all political prisoners. Then in December 1986, an amnesty for all the military officials was passed. In the interview with writer, Sanguinetti explains why he would pass such laws.
"Great number off accusations began rolling in, and we proposed and amnesty. Why for many reasons. First, few of the accusations were going o lead anywhere- there wasn't enough evidence. It was going to disturb the society. …. Second, it was a question of moral equivalency…Third, it was necessary to have a climate of stability as so to consolidate democracy… And , finally for historical reasons."
Sanguinetti acknowledges and feels sorry for the people, who suffered under the military regimes, but he says that this is not a moral decision; it is a political one. He then claims that having trails is a very expensive and disturbing process that will threaten the society's chance in reconciliation. Moreover, it may cause another depression by the military (Weschler).
On the other side of the argument stands off course the human rights activists. The writer interviews many of them. Their opinion is that we can't really achieve reconciliation by turning a blind eye on the past violations. What will insure the citizens that those abuses will not happen again? How can Uruguay be called a democracy, while there is no rule of Law? How far will we be kept by the argument that this is for the stability of our country? What more will the stability demand us to do? Senator Carlos Julia Pereyra Said, "Any for of amnesty invites a repetition of human-rights abuses. Someone who has done such things and is not punished is inclined to do it again." (Weschler)
Another important portion of the society that we should consider here is the military itself. According to the book, and presented by general Medina, the military officials actually believed that they were doing the country a favor. Yes there have been some mistakes and errors along the way, but the country’s interests always came first for the military before any personal gains. Once it was time to give up the military rule and go back to the civil government, the military did. The interest of the country then justified any abuse of torture happened to few people. General Medina said:
“In many instances the life of our comrades was in danger, and it was necessary to get information quickly. That is what made it necessary to compel them. But after that was done, the subject would just become one more prisoner. That was the focus of our struggle.” (Weschler)
Away from the Uruguayan example, one would notice that after the transition to democracy was done, and while facing the dilemma of trailing the perpetrators, there was a relation between how powerful the military was after the transition and how far could justice be achieved. The more powerful the military was; the lesser chances available for trails. In Argentina, where the transition happened only because of the collapse of the military, trails were held for the violent policy makers. In Uruguay, where the military was powerful under the rule of general Medina, no trails but there was truth commission. In Chile, country then justified any abuse of torture happened to few people. General Medina said:
“In many instances the life of our comrades was in danger, and it was necessary to get information quickly. That is what made it necessary to compel them. But after that was done, the subject would just become one more prisoner. That was the focus of our struggle.” (Weschler)
Away from the Uruguayan example, one would notice that after the transition to democracy was done, and while facing the dilemma of trailing the perpetrators, there was a relation between how powerful the military was after the transition and how far could justice be achieved. The more powerful the military was; the lesser chances available for trails. In Argentina, where the transition happened only because of the collapse of the military, trails were held for the violent policy makers. In Uruguay, where the military was powerful under the rule of general Medina, no trails but there was truth commission. In Chile, where Pinochet stayed in power as the head of military after his defeat in the referendum and then as a senator, only truth commissions, but no trails, took place. In Rwanda, where the number of killings was massive-about 800000 people killed- and the number of suspects was huge as well-around 100000, trails took place, just because the military was not as involved in the massacre as the militaries of Latin America. Trails in Rwanda took place in spite of how poor the country was. So all other economic or social reasons not to have trails boil out leaving only the strength of the military as the main cause.


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