Martín Böhmer

Ashoka Fellow
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fellow Since 1995


This profile was prepared when Martín Böhmer was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Martín is convinced that the pro bono pursuit of precedent setting civil rights cases in Argentine courts can make an immense and timely contribution to the protection of human rights. In the United States, where Martín completed an advanced degree in legal studies, the use of the courts to set precedents protecting rights that have long been denied is well established. But the concept is a radical one in Argentina, where the judiciary has seldom been used to achieve important changes in rights norms and practices. In Argentina, the "test case" approach is, itself, an untested strategy for remedying rights denials. But Martín is confident that it holds great promise for addressing rights abuses that impose grave burdens on large numbers of his fellow citizens.

Working on a pro bono basis from a clinic that he directs in a university law faculty, Martín is bringing several cases to trial that have the potential for establishing important legal precedents on a diverse array of rights issues. He hopes that the publicity and prestige associated with these possibly landmark cases will stimulate interest and emulation in the status-conscious legal profession. And he is also training a next generation of pro bono rights defenders in a new master's program at his university in Buenos Aires.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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