Teaching Case - Testing the Reach of International Law:  The Effort to Extradite General Augusto Pinochet to Spain

Testing the Reach of International Law: The Effort to Extradite General Augusto Pinochet to Spain


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  • Product Description

    When the former military dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, arrives in London for medical treatment in September 1998, there is no hint, in advance, that a major precedent in international law is about to be set. That, however, is what takes shape when the British government unexpectedly decides to honor an extradition request from a judge in Spain seeking to try Pinochet in that country for violations of international human rights treaty provisions. This case provides a step-by-step account of this historic case, raising questions as to the future limits of national sovereignty in a new era in which globalization involves not only commerce but law. Should the fact that Chile itself had appeared to come to a political modus vivendi regarding the Pinochet years have given Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon pause when he set out to prosecute the former strongman? In what sort of political and moral calculus did British Home Secretary Jack Straw--the key decision-maker in the case--engage, what sort of obligations did he have, and to whom?

    Learning Objective:
    Broadly, the case, as applied beyond Pinochet himself, raises questions as to whether international norms should be applied to intra-country political situations and, if so, who should enforce them?

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: September 01, 2000
    HKS Case Number: 1585.0
    Case Author: Susan Rosegrant
    Faculty Lead: Philip Heymann
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 17
    Setting: South America, Chile, United Kingdom
    Language: English
    _year: 2000-2009
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: Latin America
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