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Juan Méndez, “The Argentine Experience and the Emergence of a Universal Right to Truth”

Human rights lawyer, activist, and scholar Juan E. Méndez reflected on the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s  Nunca Más report and its impact on the origins and development of transitional justice. Submitted to the Argentine people on September 20th, 1984 , Nunca Más was the first time a government authorized an independent entity to investigate those formerly – and often currently – responsible for its decisions and actions.

Juan E. Méndez is a Visiting Professor of Law at the American University – Washington College of Law. Mendez has also served as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Special Advisor on Prevention to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and as UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide.  He worked with Human Rights Watch for 15 years, and he has served as the President of the International Center for Transnational Justice (ICTJ).  Juan Mendez placed his historical papers in The Human Rights Archive at Duke’s Rubenstein Library.


Here is a video of the full talk Mendez gave when he visited the DHRC @ FHI on September 19th, 2014.


Here is an excerpt from a Duke Chronicle report about Mendez’s visit to Duke.  Click here to read the full article.

“Méndez was the first speaker in a yearlong series titled “Commissioning Truths: Thirty Years after Nunca Mas,” sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. Submitted to the Argentine people Sept. 20, 1984, Nunca Mas marked the first time a government authorized an independent entity to investigate those responsible for its decisions.

“Juan Mendez is the perfect person to start our series on Commissioning Truths, to mark the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s ‘Never Again’ report,” said Robin Kirk, faculty co-chair of the executive committee of the Duke Human Rights Center at FHI. “He was a political prisoner, suffered torture and then went on to work for human rights.”


Sponsored by The Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Human Rights Center at FHI, the Trent Memorial Foundation.

Cosponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, Duke History Department, and Duke Cultural Anthropology.


September 19, 2014
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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Smith Warehouse, FHI Garage, Bay 4
114 S Buchanan Blvd
Durham, NC 27701 United States
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