Essay: Impunity

Sample Essay

Impunity means, literally, freedom from punishment. To act with impunity means to act with the knowledge that one is above the law. In Latin America, impunity has come to have a specific meaning in political and human rights terms: it means that acts of repression and abuse of power by the state against its citizens are shielded from judgment or accountability before national law (McSherry, 1992).

When a people, regardless of the positions they hold in the society act contrary to the rule of law, are accused of impunity. Impunity manifests itself especially when laws as far as legality is concerned are overlooked.

The national security state is defined here as a type of authoritarian state, associated with a dependent and internationalized capitalist model of development, which was governed directly by the military as an institution (McSherry, 1992).

The military in the context of a national security state dictated the dynamics of the society and used its objectives to change the destiny of the society. Anti-communism was the order of the day for the national security state.

It was against any sector that enjoyed popularity both politically and economically and ensured that it was not a threat to the status quo.

The national security states utilized the dual mechanisms of economic restructuring and coercion to terrorize and exclude the subordinate classes, demobilize and destroy organized labor, and preserve the system from challenges (McSherry, 1992).

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