Transition towards Democracy and Human Rights

Truth and reconciliation commissions, institutional recognition and specific country cases
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (98 ratings)
3,252 students
The student will have reviewed and will know basic concepts about the Transition to Democracy and Human Rights
You will also have deepened about specific cases such as Chile, South Africa and Argentina


  • It is not necessary to have knowledge or previous experience in the area to take the course
  • It is not a law course. It has some legal concepts, but they will be explained in the classes. In addition, each class has a glossary attached, which you may download
  • The difficulty is similar to an introductory first year college course


The Transition towards Democracy can be defined as a period of profound political change in the history of a country, when it transits from a state of political violence towards democratic peace, having to take charge of a legacy of human rights violations.

All measures of Transition towards Democracy must be guided by the following principles. First, it must aim to repair and prevent human rights violations. Second, it is essential to learn the whole truth about the past in order to give legitimacy to the measures adopted in the present. Third, the limits imposed by International Law must be respected in order to avoid two extremes: arbitrary punishments and impunity. 

In this course we will review these and other Transition towards Democracy concepts, as well as the main experiences throughout the world, including the cases of Chile, Argentina and South Africa.

Since December 31, 2018, we will NOT deliver paid virtual certificates from the Universidad Diego Portales, even if it could say the opposite in the first and last video of the course. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

Who this course is for:

  • Anyone interested in issues related to the transition to democracy, truth commissions, institutional recognition of human rights violations, etc.
  • It is not necessary to have knowledge or previous experience in the area to take the course

Course content

5 sections22 lectures3h 37m total length
  • Welcome


Lawyer, Human Rights Professor
José Zalaquett
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 21,486 Reviews
  • 145,815 Students
  • 7 Courses

Head of the MOOC Chile Project. Lawyer, Universidad de Chile. Doctor Honoris Causa, by the Universities of Notre Dame and City University of New York. Professor, International Human Rights and International Law and the Use of Force, Universidad de Chile Law School. Former professor, Ethics and Government, Master's Program on Public Policy, Universidad de Chile. Visiting Professor, Harvard University, Toronto University, New York University, Maryland University, Notre Dame University and Interamerican Institute for Human Rights. Co-founder and former co-director, Human Rights Center, Universidad de Chile Law School (2002-2011). Commissioner, International Commission of Jurist.

Director, Legal Department of the Peace Cooperation Committee for Chile (1973-1976). Former President, Amnesty International Executive Committee (1979-1982). Commissioner, Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1990-1991). Former Commissioner and President, Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (2003-2004).

Juan Francisco Lobo
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 21,486 Reviews
  • 145,814 Students
  • 7 Courses

Lawyer, Universidad de Chile. Invited Professor, International Criminal Jurisdiction, University of Chile. Invited Professor, Public International Law and International Criminal Law, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Invited Professor, Legal Theory, Universidad Diego Portales.  Former academyc assistant, International Human Rights and International Law and the Use of Force, Universidad de Chile Law School.  

Abogado de la Universidad de Chile. Profesor Invitado, Jurisdicción Penal Internacional, Universidad de Chile. Profesor Invitado, Derecho Internacional Público y Derecho Penal Internacional, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Profesor Invitado, Teoría del Derecho, Universidad Diego Portales. Ex ayudante, Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos y Derecho Internacional y Uso de la Fuerza, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Chile.