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'Forced to Be Free': Globalized Justice, Pacted Democracy, and the Pinochet Case

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The attempt to prosecute former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet has been primarily viewed through the lens of 'globalized justice', the erosion of traditional state sovereignty, and the empowerment of 'global civil society'. By contrast, this article argues that the Pinochet case is as much about popular sovereignty as it is about transcended borders or universal rights. Though operating in the language of the eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, victims-as-'global citizens' are very much focused on their status as national citizens and on their contribution to a Rousseauian project of social contracting. The issue is one of redefining the 'general will' to include their universalised and particularised conceptions of justice, and thus 'forcing' their country - in absentia - to be free. In fact, it is the collision of an international context of cosmopolitan liberal consensus on individual rights with the domestic preference for stability before justice reflected in the pacted transition model that animates the logic of such a strategy. The second part of this analysis, which applies the theoretical framework to the Pinochet case and its evolution abroad and at home, will appear in a subsequent issue of the journal.

Keywords: Pinochet; globalization; legitimacy; pacts; sovereignty; transitional justice

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2002

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