Press Release

Argentina Hands Records of the Military Dictatorship to IACHR

September 17, 2014

Washington, D.C. - The Minister of Defense of Argentina, Agustin Rossi, presented on September 16, 2014, before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the records of the dictatorship which ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. These records summarized the contents of the meetings held by the military junta in charge of the Government since the coup of March 24, 1976.

"These records include the debates, the discussions before the visit conducted by the IACHR to Argentina in 1979, as well as its consequences. After the visit, pressure on the dictatorship certainly increased, especially regarding the issue of forced disappearances, and the discussions on how to react to this pressure are reflected in these records," said the Minister, Agustín Rossi, during the ceremony where the records were submitted.

The minister, who came to the Commission accompanied by the Permanent Representative of Argentina to the OAS Nilda Garre and a large delegation, said that: “this delivery recognizes the Commission for the visit to our country during the dictatorship, and the important impact it had.”

The Minister noted that these records were found on October 31, 2013 at the Condor Building, headquarters of the Air Force of Argentina. "These are the official documents of the seven years of dictatorship," he said, noting the fact that it was the chief of the Air Force who informed him about the discovery. "This shows that in Argentina we have different armed forces, looking to the future and are not stuck in the past," said the Minister.

The records were given to the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Emilio Alvarez Icaza, who described these documents as "historic in terms of the search for truth and justice, both in Argentina and in all countries in our Latin America."

The records were found in good condition and arranged in 6 books within a safe. The Argentine government ordered to print a limited edition and a copy which was which was given to the Commission. The Minister explained that many issues of historical significance are treated there, including the debate on a legislative decree for an amnesty for human rights violations committed during the dictatorship.

"These documents have immeasurable historical and legal value. They reflect a policy of seeking the truth, which is very inspiring and valuable. They collect a very painful past but necessary to the pursuit of justice, "said the Secretary.

"The efforts of Argentina to recover the historical truth are extraordinarily important for the future of democracy. It is a message of hope for the entire region. We have had the opportunity to be in the Archives of Terror in Paraguay, where documents of the Operation Condor are located, and in the Military archives (“Diario Militar”) in Guatemala, which recorded the genocide perpetrated during the armed conflict. Gradually, the truth is being rebuilt in Latin America.”

"These efforts give substantive content to democracy. We appreciate the delivery of these documents and will look for ways to give publicity and meaning to this information. We understand the challenge of building and thinking of the military forces as democratic institutions. We believe there is a new horizon to build the profile of the Latin American soldier as the guardian of democracy. That's the challenge: how we build institutions of democracy, "said Secretary of the Commission.

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 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. 99/14