Granma on moves to extradite Argentine military criminals

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sat Aug 2 06:58:07 MDT 2003

ARGENTINA Criminals on tenterhooks


PRESIDENT Néstor Kirchner’s decision to repeal a decree preventing the
extradition of Argentines wanted for crimes committed during the
military dictatorship (1976-1983), has once again made the trial
against top-level military personnel and other officials from the
military regime (responsible for the disappearance of more than 30,000
people) a topical issue.

The Argentine president’s decision took place after the country’s
judicial system ordered the detention of 43 military personnel and one
civilian, in response to extradition orders lodged by Spain and other
countries. Kirchner annulled a decree enacted by Fernando de la Rúa’s
government to prevent authorization of these extradition requests.

The Argentine leader dismissed the idea that there was unease amongst
the leadership of the armed forces because of the detentions and
possible extraditions.

Other official spokespersons have stated that they are in favor of
authors of crimes committed during the military dictatorship being
tried in the Argentine courts. However, for that to be a possibility,
the Supreme Court of Justice would have to rule that the Final Point
and Due Obedience laws are unconstitutional. That legislation put an
end to criminal proceedings against members of the armed forces
responsible for the repression in Argentina during the dictatorship.

Meanwhile, in Spain, the Criminal Court backed Judge Baltazar Garzón’s
intention to make concrete an extradition application for those
Argentines guilty of genocide. One third of the oppressors named by
Garzón are already in detention for crimes such as stealing babies
whose mothers had “disappeared”.

In turn, it was announced in Paris that the French authorities are to
process the extradition of Argentine torturer Alfredo Artíz - known as
the Angel of Death - accused of being the mastermind behind the deaths
of French nuns Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet.

Likewise, Germany, Italy and Israel have announced that they are to
reissue extradition applications for military personnel who murdered
their countries’ citizens, requests that had been presented in
previous years without results.

Backing the re-opening of the case, Argentine justice minister,
Gustavo Béliz stated that the country’s judicial system has the unique
opportunity to lead the way in the battle against impunity.

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