Emad A Ayasreh
This book describes how South American states utilized Operation Condor, a secret repressive network that used torture, kidnapping, and murder, to oppress political and social activists across the region. Lessa discusses the coordination of transnational repression in the region during the 1970s and the efforts that transnational justice seekers made to ensure that the victims of Condor found justice. Whereas most existing literature on justice focuses on an individual country's transitional justice system, Lessa's work went further to analyze cross-border atrocities. She conducted interviews and reviewed archival records and judicial documents. By providing detailed examples of the activities of Condor operatives in the region, Lessa gives insights into the horrific tactics used by the state terror machine to eliminate political and social opposition to those in power. Although the transnational injustices in South America remained a secret for many years, known only to the victims and human rights organizations, they are being revealed as democratic governance has grown and encouraged the open retelling of stories. Lessa finds that transnational justice seekers succeeded in ensuring the prosecution of several individuals who committed transnational atrocities across the region. Transnational crimes are not unique to South America and still occur in many parts of the world. Lessa believes that accountability can ensure justice for the victims in all regions and their families. The Condor trials proved that national courts can prosecute cross-border atrocities through international judicial cooperation. Lessa contributes to the scholarship of justice by revealing previously untold stories of injustice in South America. Unfortunately, much still remains unclear about human rights violations on that continent and in other regions of the world.