Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Historic Decision of the Federal Oral Court of Mendoza, Argentina

August 29, 2017

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Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) applauds the July 27, 2017, decision of the Federal Court of Mendoza, Argentina, by which four former members of the judiciary were sentenced to life in prison and barred from ever holding public office for their collaboration in crimes against humanity from the civil-military dictatorship (1976-1983). This decision marks a historic step forward in the fight against impunity for gross human rights violations.

According to the Court’s ruling, former judges Rolando Carrizo and Luis Miret, former official public defender Guillermo Petra Recabarren, and former prosecutor Otilio Romano were primary participants in crimes of State terrorism while they were serving in the judiciary during the dictatorship. The ruling consolidates the interpretation that the former justice operators bear active and direct responsibility for committing acts of kidnapping, torture, and murder. The decision also makes historic progress in holding civilians and other branches of government responsible for crimes committed under the dictatorship.

“This decision is an important step forward for the justice system in Argentina and sets an example for the region in terms of the serious crimes of the past. The ruling also shows that there was systematic conduct in the past by the Argentine judiciary to collaborate with State terrorism,” said Commissioner Paolo Vannuchi, the Rapporteur who oversees the new IACHR Unit on Memory, Truth, and Justice. “In a context of threatened setbacks in the region in this area, this decision represents progress against civilian impunity. It is necessary to strengthen and advance the promotion of memory, truth, and justice in the Americas,” Commissioner Vannuchi added.

The IACHR welcomes this step toward truth and justice, and calls on the State to continue carrying out its obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish everyone involved in perpetrating serious crimes and 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.


* This is a corrected version of the press release originally issued. The correction was made on the same date that it was issued.

No. 128/17