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Revista SAAP

versión On-line ISSN 1853-1970


SMULOVITZ, CATALINA. From «discovery of the law» to «lawfare» or how grapes turned sour. Revista SAAP [online]. 2022, vol.16, n.2, pp.231-259.  Epub 30-Mar-2023. ISSN 1853-1970.

What is "lawfare"? A novel and empirically differentiated case of judicialization of politics, a defensive rhetorical strategy to be used in partisan conflicts, or the reframing of a long-standing regional practice of judicial persecution? The article analyzes the instruments, the ideological orientation and the political results that characterize their use and compare them with those that characterized legal wars that took place before 2016. In particular, the article analyzes the former Latin American presidents who began their mandates after the year 2000 and accused for crimes of corruption. The study shows that the behaviors and procedures that characterize the practice of «lawfare» were usual and ancient practices in the region, that the Latin American meaning of the term indicates the reframing of a pre-existing phenomenon and advances a set of hypotheses to explain the success of the reframing process.

Palabras clave : lawfare; judicial wars; judicialization; Latin America; corruption.

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