IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress in the Administration of Justice in Argentina

May 25, 2018

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9000
mrivero@oas.org

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the decision made on May 4, 2018 by Argentina’s Fourth Federal Chamber of Criminal Appeals, which confirmed prison sentences handed by the City of Buenos Aires’ First Federal Criminal Court in the case known as “Plan Cóndor.” This decision is a historic step in the fight against impunity for serious human rights violations.

The decision took into consideration the standards adopted by the IACHR and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which establish victims’ right to know the truth about events that constitute human rights violations and States’ obligation to investigate and punish such human rights violations committed in the framework of Plan Cóndor. The ruling notes that “the Argentine State has the obligation to adopt all measures necessary to initiate proceedings and carry them through to the end and, if appropriate, to punish and also to guarantee the effective enforcement of any sentences imposed on persons who have been found guilty of committing human rights violations during our country’s last military dictatorship.” In this respect, the Supreme Court ruled that “the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is, along with the directives of the Inter-American Commission, an essential guideline to interpret the duties and obligations that stem from the American Convention on Human Rights.”

In its decision, the Court rejected the appeals filed in Case Number 1,504 by the defense of 15 men who had been charged, letting lower-court decisions stand in the investigations that were subjected to appeals. The same ruling notes that, on May 27, 2016, the City of Buenos Aires’ First Federal Criminal Court found 12 men guilty of criminal association in the framework of the so-called “Plan Cóndor” and also of the crime of unlawful deprivation of liberty committed by a public official who abuses their authority or ignores the formalities prescribed by law, and sentenced those men to 12-25 years in prison, as well as disqualifying them from holding public office. A further two men were found guilty of the crime of unlawful deprivation of liberty committed by a public official who abuses their authority or ignores the formalities prescribed by law, and they were sentenced to 25 years in prison and an absolute and perpetual disqualification from holding public office. Finally, one man was found guilty of criminal association in the framework of “Plan Cóndor” (without other criminal conduct) and sentenced to eight years in prison. Such penalties were imposed for crimes against 103 victims of Operation Cóndor.

Commissioner Antonia Urrejola Noguera, in charge of the IACHR’s Unit on Memory, Truth and Justice, said that “the decision entails major progress for justice in Argentina and is an example for the region in terms of enforcing States’ obligation to investigate, try and punish the serious human rights violations of the past.”

The IACHR welcomes this new step towards memory, truth and justice in the country and urges the State of Argentina to remain an international model of compliance with its duty to investigate, try and punish anyone involved in perpetrating serious human rights violations.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 117/18