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The Domestic Application Of International Human Rights Law: The Case Of The Guatemalan Historical Clarification Commission

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Chapter Summary

The question of how to make the transition to peace after a long-term conflict characterized by persistent gross human rights violations is not a conundrum unique to Guatemala. The notion of "transitional justice" juxtaposes the need to overcome the past and build towards the future, with the recognition that rejecting the history of abuse is a defining element in the new society's construction. The conclusions concerning crimes against humanity and genocide reflect both the elements of policy and planning inherent in the definitions of those crimes and the distinctions with regard to intent. Moreover, through the application of humanitarian law, the CEH was able to take into account the reality of the armed conflict in its judgments about the history of human rights violations. Finally, conventional human rights law provided the framework for delineating the fundaments of a state's obligations towards both the individuals and collectivities under its jurisdiction.

Keywords: armed conflict; crimes against humanity; genocide; Guatemala; human rights violations; humanitarian law



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