Pardon's for Argentine junta unconstitutional

impunity mural

With the issue of impunity taking center stage in the past few weeks from Guatemala and Brazil to Uruguay – the Argentine court has upheld an earlier ruling declaring the pardon’s of two officers involved in human rights abuses unconstitutional. While this is a small step, and many higher ranking officials never seeing the dawn break from behind their jail cells, it is a slow march towards justice in the Southern Cone. From today’s Latin American Herald Tribune:

Argentina’s highest criminal court upheld a lower court ruling that pardons granted in 1990 to two of the officers who led a 1976 coup ushering in seven years of brutal military rule were unconstitutional, the judiciary said Thursday.

The decision lets stand the life sentences handed down to Gen. Jorge Videla and Adm. Emilio Massera, both 83, for crimes against humanity committed by the 1976-1983 military regime.

Attorneys for the two men had challenged a 2007 federal court decision that voided the pardons granted to the former officers in 1990 by then-President Carlos Menem.

While Videla is in prison, Massera is serving his sentence under house arrest, a benefit most Latin American countries extend to elderly convicts.

The junta led by Videla, Massera and other military brass is blamed for as many as 30,000 deaths.

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~ by Daniel on June 19, 2009.

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