American transitional justice: writing Cold War history in human rights litigation

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


"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 U.S. courts produced a whitewashed history of U.S. involvement in repression in the Western bloc, while in Paraguay and the Philippines the distance from U.S. 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 U.S. courts"--
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom; New York, NY, USA
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages208
ISBN (Electronic)1108774520, 1108804799, 110880621X, 9781108774529
ISBN (Print)1108477704, 1108702554, 9781108477703, 9781108702553
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHuman rights in history
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • United States. Alien Tort Claims Act
  • Government liability -- United States -- Cases
  • Immunities of foreign states
  • Transitional justice
  • Cold War -- Law and legislation -- United States -- Cases

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • United States -- Alien Tort Claims Act
  • Transitional justice -- United States -- Cases
  • United States -- Alien Tort Act
  • United States -- Alien Tort Statute


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