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International accompaniment, reflexivity and the intelligibility of power in post-conflict Guatemala

Roy Grégoire Etienne et Hamilton Karen. (2016). International accompaniment, reflexivity and the intelligibility of power in post-conflict Guatemala. Journal of Genocide Research, 18, (2-3), p. 189-205.

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‘International accompaniers’ use their physical presence as a form of peaceful intervention to deter political violence against local human rights defenders. Threatened members of Guatemala’s civil society have relied on accompaniment as part of their security strategy since the early 1980s. Approximately one thousand volunteers from a dozen countries have accompanied in Guatemala. International accompaniment has been a key component of the effort to prosecute former military general and president Efraín Ríos Montt and other perpetrators of mass human rights violations in Guatemala. Victim witnesses and their legal counsel have included accompaniment as part of their protection strategy since 2000. Important questions have nonetheless been raised with respect to accompaniment’s effectiveness as a tool for witness protection and the possibility that it reinforces power inequalities. This article builds on Gada Mahrouse’s critique of accompaniment and draws on Michel Foucault’s understanding of reflexivity and power. The authors use insights from two case studies to support the argument that accompaniment’s usefulness as a tool for witness protection depends on its ability to accommodate the witnesses’ position within webs of interconnected power dynamics and the multiple ways in which they conceive of security. It also depends on how intelligible these different power dynamics are to accompaniers. This argument is used to highlight how accompaniment in Guatemala is relevant for other situations where the prosecution of human rights atrocities is long term and depends on witness testimony.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Pages:p. 189-205
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Date:Juillet 2016
Identifiant unique:10.1080/14623528.2016.1186896
Sujets:Sciences sociales et humaines
Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences sociales
Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences sociales > Sciences politiques
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences humaines > Module des sciences humaines
Mots-clés:political violence, human rights, South America
Déposé le:20 avr. 2023 13:33
Dernière modification:20 avr. 2023 13:33
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