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Victim’s 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

Although Chile is currently considered to be a democracy, the effects of the military dictatorship are still present in society. This project analyses the ways in which victims of the dictatorship (1973-1990), participated in and perceived the post-1990 (and still ongoing) justice process.

How were they involved? What were, and are, their experiences, expectations and needs? In order to answer these questions, a literature review, document analysis of truth commissions and court cases, and qualitative interviews with victims and 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 who participated in criminal justice procedures, (2) victims who gave truth commission testimonies, (3) victims who participated in both ways, and (4) victims who did not participate in any of these mechanisms. The project will provide insight into 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 to 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.