Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Political Science

Program or Major

Political Science and Spanish

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Alynna Lyon

Second Advisor

Scott Weintraub


This study examines whether the 1998 arrest, by order of a Spanish judge, of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet in London for crimes of genocide and terrorism impacted the attitude of Chilean and Spanish courts toward prosecuting their own country’s human rights violations. It argues that after 1998 Chile’s judiciary increased prosecutions against former regime officials, while the Spanish judiciary upheld Spain’s 1977 Amnesty Law and declined to participate in the national discourse on the country’s past human rights violations. This research includes a comparative case study of Chile and Spain, their recent histories, their judiciaries’ attitudes towards prosecution of human rights violations before and after the Pinochet arrest, as well as an overview of the Pinochet arrest itself.