American Transitional Justice
Natalie Davidson offers an alternative account of Alien Tort Statute litigation by revisiting the field's two seminal cases, Filártiga (filed 1979) and Marcos (filed 1986), lawsuits ostensibly concerned with torture in Paraguay and the Philippines, respectively. Combining legal analysis, archival research and ethnographic methods, this book reveals how these cases operated as transitional justice mechanisms, performing the transition of the United States and its allies out of the Cold War order. It shows that US courts produced a whitewashed history of US involvement in repression in the Western bloc, while in Paraguay and the Philippines the distance from US courts allowed for a more critical narration of the lawsuits and their underlying violence as symptomatic of structural injustice. By exposing the political meanings of these legal landmarks for three societies, Davidson sheds light on the blend of hegemonic and emancipatory implications of international human rights litigation in US courts.