Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS)

2011 Justice Prize

Laureate Profile

Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) has played a leading role in holding high-ranking military officers accountable for political executions, torture, detention and disappearances that took place during Argentina’s “Dirty War” – the period of military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Since its founding in 1979, CELS has sought to bring the perpetrators to justice and compel the government to provide information to people regarding the fate of family members who disappeared. When the government halted the trials through amnesty and impunity laws, CELS was a main actor in the process to have those laws nullified and succeeded in reopening the cases that had been closed in the 1980s. When witness protection issues and other problems were revealed, CELS addressed them with a proposal that led to the creation of three new governmental units.