Latin America and the Justice Cascade

The last few decades have seen Latin America experience the positive effects of a justice cascade, defined as the “new global trend of holding political leaders criminally accountable for past human rights violations through domestic and international prosecutions.” Regional courts, some Latin American countries, and many Latin American–based NGOs are acting as important protagonists of this trend.

These different actors and mechanisms have allowed human rights actors to, for example, resort to universal jurisdiction arguments in foreign courts in order to bring forward otherwise domestically blocked suits against Latin American human rights violators.

Scholars Dr. Kathryn Sikkink and Dr. César Rodríguez-Garavito examine how and why Latin America has managed to achieve their own justice cascade and how Latin American NGOs representing victims have been particularly effective in using the interaction between domestic and international accountability processes to achieve better results than either alone could offer.


  • Kathryn Sikkink, Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University;
  • César Rodríguez-Garavito, full professor at the Universidad de los Andes Law School and founding member of the Center for Law, Justice and Society Studies (Dejusticia);
  • Jim Goldston, Executive Director of OSF’s Justice Initiative, moderates the discussion.
Date: November 13, 2013
Time: 2:304:00 p.m.