Peace Without Justice

Obstacles to Building the Rule of Law in El Salvador

By (author) Margaret Popkin

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 June 2000

Length of book:

304 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271019987

Popkin analyzes the role of international actors, notably the United States and the United Nations, and the contributions and limitations of international assistance in efforts to establish accountability and reform the justice system in El Salvador. The author discusses the essential role of civil society in attempts to establish accountability and an effective justice system for all, and looks at the reasons for and the consequences of the limited role played by Salvadorean civil society. She also addresses the challenges facing democratic reform efforts in the context of a postwar crime wave.

Peace Without Justice grew out of Margaret Popkin’s extensive experience working as a human rights advocate in El Salvador during the armed conflict and interviews with a variety of Salvadorans and others involved in justice reform and in negotiating and implementing the peace accords.

“This is a fascinating book. It is an excellent study of judicial reform and the transition to democracy in El Salvador. Popkin shows in convincing fashion the enormous difficulties involved in attempting to reform El Salvador’s judiciary. In the process, she often makes helpful comparisons to Argentina, Chile, and Haiti. The book makes a very significant contribution to the extensive literature on the protection of human rights in Latin America, as well as on judicial reform and judicial independence. But it goes well beyond most human rights literature because of its focus on structural aspects of El Salvador’s legal system. It should therefore appeal to students of law as well as political science, history, and international relations.”

—Keith Rosenn, University of Miami Law School