Professor Verónica Michel in the Department of Political Science received the Best Journal Article Award 2014 by the Law and Courts section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for her article “Human Rights Prosecutions and the Participation Rights of Victims in Latin America,” co-authored with Kathryn Sikkink and published in the Law and Society Review in 2013.
The APSA is the main academic association in the discipline of Political Science, making this award a great honor.
“It is important to recognize that this award highlights the advancement of women in political science, and furthermore, of Hispanic women in political science. It is important to me as an academic, but also as a woman and as a Mexican,” said Michel.
In their article, they made the argument that private prosecution has been a key causal mechanism explaining the ways non-governmental organizations have been able to use international law to push forward human rights prosecutions in Latin America.
Private prosecution is a victims' right that allows victims or their relatives to participate in the criminal prosecution of a case.
“Although it sounds bizarre to an American audience, private prosecution is a quite widespread right around the world. This paper really expands our theoretical understandings of human rights trials. Latin America has been the frontrunner in fighting against impunity for past human rights violations, and our research allows us to better explain how victims' relatives have been able to do this,” said Michel.
Verónica Michel, Assistant Professor of Political Science, received a BA from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include comparative and international criminal justice, human rights, rule of law, norm diffusion, and legal mobilization, with a regional focus on Latin America. She is currently working on how procedural rights of victims of crime and the institutional design of the state's prosecutorial office may impact access to justice in Latin America.