Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Law (LLM)



First Advisor

Sompong Sucharitkul


In 1973 Gen. Juan Domingo Peron was voted into office as President of Argentina after an 18 year exile. He died the following year in 197 4 when his second wife, Isabella Peron, served as his successor. In 1976 the military overthrew Isabella Peron as part of their "calling" to restore law and order to a chaotic Argentina. To do so, the military declared an all out war on any sectors of life which could be viewed as a threat to the maintenance of military rule. This objective, offic-ially known as the "Proceso" but dubbed by the public as the "dirty war," lasted from 1976 to 1983 when democracy was finally restored to rebuild the aftermath of the Argentine economy, society and morale caused by the Malvinas/Falkland Island defeat by Great Britain. It was the most abusive regime to rule Argentina in its history. During its course, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Argentines including women and children of all walks of life were "disappeared" by the military dictatorship led by the government of Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla.

It is the goal of this study to understand the "dirty war" in Argentina through an exposure to and understanding of the myriad of "social protest literature" and the development of human rights legislation both within Argentina and on a world scale. Not only is it important to the reader and his larger society to gain exposure to the truth behind history and humanity which is mirrored through such laws and works but, on a larger scale, such a reflection will hopefully illuminate how crucial a role law and literature plays as the central nerve cell of the living memory of a people as it is passed down from generation to generation.

This essay will focus on a number of legal treaties, conventions, court decisions, legislation and authors and their works which tell the truth of the "dirty war." It will discuss not only collective and individual themes found in such a diverse body of law and literature, but it will continue to focus on the development of such human rights laws as well as styles, narrative points of views, literary techniques, and the significant effects of these works. How does the author help shatter the silence through his work(s)? What laws have come about because of this tragedy that will place a barrier to human rights abuses within Argentina and the international community at large? These and a variety of other crucial issues will be addressed in the following study of contemporary human rights law and literature of the "dirty war" in Argentina.

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