Valeria Vázquez Guevara

PhD Candidate

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Valeria Vázquez Guevara is a Ph.D. candidate at Melbourne Law School, and a member of the Institute for International Law and the Humanities.

Valeria’s research is concerned with how law, through its particular forms, ‘works’ after violent conflict, and what sort of post-conflict society it shapes, especially in the global South. Her research is informed by the scholarship in the tradition of ‘law and the humanities’, with particular focus on jurisdictional thinking, legal aesthetics, and the histories of international law and development, as well as jurisprudence, theories of international law, and decolonial and postcolonial theories. These research interests build on Valeria’s personal and professional experiences in the non-profit sector in Spain and the Basque Country, El Salvador, and South Africa. Prior to commencing doctoral studies, Valeria was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town (South Africa), where she conducted research and analysis on national reconciliation processes and political transitions in Iraq and South Africa. Before that she served with a leading international human rights organization in the Basque Country as coordinator of the policy advocacy team with responsibility for implementing political incidence campaigns at the institutional level. Valeria has also worked in the implementation of programs on social inclusion in Spain, and on violence prevention and rule of law promotion in El Salvador.

Valeria holds an M.A. in Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame (USA), an M.A. in Sociology of Law from the International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Spain), and an LL.B. from the University of Granada’s Faculty of Law (Spain).

Thesis Title

The Legal Forms and Force of Truth Commissions

Thesis Summary

The thesis aims to understand the relationship between truth commissions and law, and how this relationship informs the problem of ‘living together with law after violent conflict’. Truth commissions are generally understood as ‘non-judicial’ or ‘quasi-legal’ devices. Against this, the thesis follows the intuition that truth commissions have a distinct legal form, which shapes what ‘living together’ might entail.  The analysis focuses on four truth commissions: Uganda (1974), Argentina (1983), Chile (1990), and El Salvador (1992). To do this, this thesis draws on jurisprudence related to historical, prudential and aesthetic consideration of form. Paying close attention to these truth commissions, the thesis contributes a new way of understanding the form and practices of truth commissions as both legal and lawful, and their relationship to shaping how societies live together after violent conflict.


  • Law in Post-conflict State-building
  • Truth Commissions
  • Theories and Practices of Post-conflict Reconciliation
  • Legal Aesthetics
  • Law and the Humanities
  • Legal Theory
  • Theories of International Law and Development
  • Histories of International Law
  • International Law and the Cold War in Latin America
  • Decolonial Theory
  • Legal Pluralism