The international dimension of
democratization and human rights
in Latin America
Ellen L. Lutz and Kathryn Sikkink
The arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London in October 1998, and the British court's decision to let him be extradited to Spain for trial for human rights abuses in Chile, signalled again the significance of the international dimension of human rights and democracy promotion in Latin America. Although British authorities concluded that Pinochet was too ill to stand trial, the international events had important domestic political repercussions that did not end when Pinochet returned to Chile. An unprecedented number of human rights cases thereafter moved ahead in Chilean courts, and the Chilean Supreme Court removed Pinochet's immunity from prosecution. The involvement of international actors in the democratic crises in Paraguay, Ecuador, and Peru in 1999–2000 similarly highlighted the continuing importance of the international dimension of democratization. But the inability of international pressures to affect the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Alberto Fujimori in Peru from 1993 to 2000 prior to his flight from the country, or contribute to a peaceful settlement and improved human rights protection in Colombia, reminds us of the limits on the ability of such pressures to bring about political change.
The study of international dimension of democratization and human rights is far from a new avenue of inquiry. 1 Many observers initially suggested that as democratization proceeded in the hemisphere, the international or regional dimension would become less influential. 2 The Pinochet case (and similar judicial processes underway in Spain in rela-