Jo-Marie Burt is a senior fellow at WOLA specializing on state violence, human rights and transitional justice, with a focus on Peru and Guatemala. She is associate professor of political science at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
Dr. Burt has published widely on political violence, human rights and transitional justice in Latin America. Her most recent publication, Transitional Violence in the Aftermath of Civil Conflict: Lessons Learned from Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador, is based on a two-year project with the Due Process of Law Foundation and local partners in the region. Her 2007 book, Silencing Civil Society: Political Violence and the Authoritarian State in Peru (Palgrave), is a definitive study of insurgent violence and the state’s brutal counter-insurgency methods. The book received an Honorable Mention for the WOLA-Duke Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America, and was published in 2009 in Spanish as Violencia y Autoritarismo en el Perú: Bajo la sombra de Sendero y la dictadura de Fujimori (Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2009; 2nd expanded edition, 2011). She also co-edited Politics in the Andes: Identity, Conflict, Reform (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004), which covers such topics as the challenges of democratic consolidation in the Andes, indigenous and women’s rights, drug trafficking, and political violence. She has published journalistic articles in The Nation, Truth-Out, Huffington Post, and NACLA Report on the Americas, among others. She is currently writing a book about war crimes trials in Latin America.
In recent years, Dr. Burt’s research has focused on the ways postconflict societies confront demands for justice and accountability after atrocity. She currently researches and writes about war crimes trials in Guatemala for International Justice Monitor, a project of the Open Society Justice Initiative, and Plaza Pública. She has engaged in research and advocacy in relation to several high-profile human rights trials in the region, including the 2009 Fujimori trial in Peru and the 2013 Rios Montt genocide trial in Guatemala; organized international observation missions to these trials; and advocated on behalf of the rights of victims to access justice in both instances. She also directed Rights Perú, a collaborative research project on human rights prosecutions in Peru. Her research publications include:
- Guilty as Charged: The Trial of Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for Human Rights Violations
- From heaven to hell in ten days: the genocide trial in Guatemala
- Challenging Impunity in Domestic Courts: Human Rights Prosecutions in Latin America
- The New Accountability Agenda in Latin America: The Promise and Perils of Human Rights Prosecutions
- Mapping Perpetrator Prosecutions in Latin America (with C. Collins and L. Balardini)
- The Paradoxes of Accountability: Transitional Justice in Peru
- Access to Information, Access to Justice: The Challenges to Accountability in Peru
- Truth, Justice and Memory: The Criminal Trial in the case of the 1985 Accomarca Massacre (Spanish only)
- Civil Society and the Resurgent Struggle against Impunity in Uruguay, 1985-2012 (with G. Fried-Amilivia and F. Lessa)
- Accounting for Murder: The Contested Narratives of the Life and Death of Maria Elena Moyano (Spanish here)
- Quien habla es terrorista”: The Political Use of Fear in Fujimori’s Peru
- Shining Path and the Decisive Battle in Lima’s Barriadas: The Case of Villa El Salvador
Dr. Burt is an active member of professional associations including the International Studies Association, the Law and Society Association, and the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). In 2016, Dr. Burt was elected to serve a two-year term on LASA’s Executive Council. She is a member of the international advisory boards of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) and the Observatorio Luz Ibarburu, which monitors human rights prosecutions in Uruguay. Dr. Burt was a researcher for the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2001-3), and was a Fulbright Scholar and the Alberto Flores Galindo Visiting Scholar at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Between 1995 and 2000, she was editor of NACLA Report on the America, the largest English-language publication on Latin America. Dr. Burt has served as an expert witness in human rights cases in courts in the United States, in domestic courts in Peru, and before the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. She has been awarded grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Latin American Studies Association Otros Saberes Initiative, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, the Aspen Institute, and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, among others. She has commented widely on Latin American politics for the US and international media.