By Silvia Borzutzky, Lois Hecht Oppenheim
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Additional info for After Pinochet: The Chilean Road to Democracy and the Market
Human rights lawyers, who had fought an unprecedented legal battle in the courts after 1973, had made the major difference, even though the judiciary rejected more than eight thousand writs of habeas corpus up until 1989. ” In contrast, the reintegration of the losers into the political system, renewed efforts at political reform, and other forms Human Rights in Chile: The Long Road to Truth, Justice, and Reparations / 5 of reparation for victims (branded as subversives by supporters of the military regime) all go hand in hand with the historical emphasis on legitimizing political order and ensuring governability.
Changes were also introduced to the Arms Control Act and to the Terrorist Conduct Act. These laws were commonly known as leyes Cumplido (Cumplido laws), named after Justice Minister Francisco Cumplido. In 1991, the government also ratified amendments to Article 9 of the constitution, which authorized the president of the republic to grant pardons to those who had been convicted of certain crimes under the Terrorist Conduct Act. A total of 169 pardons were granted. The last prisoners were released in March 1994 by the commutation of their prison sentences into banishment.
Nevertheless, a close examination of the fundamental arguments offered by the plaintiffs and the counterarguments presented by the State Defense Council 18 / Elizabeth Lira in challenging the suits illustrates once again the persistence of antagonistic versions of what had happened in the country during Pinochet’s regime. The civil lawsuits covered a wide range of situations that had caused the claimants serious harm, including a collective suit concerning exile, which was filed in late 2000. ” On May 29, 2001, the State Defense Council challenged the lawsuit, arguing, “the prohibition to return to the country was legislated by the competent authority, in accordance with the norms of the time and supported by decrees passed in the years in which the events occurred.