Fight Against Impunity Requires Augusto Pinochet Ugarte To Be Detained And Judged.
In March 1996, a complaint was filed before the Spanish National High Court (Audiencia Nacional) against the members of the Military Junta in Argentina (1976-1983) for alleged crimes against humanity, including genocide and terrorism. Afterwards, in July 1996, another complaint was filed against the members of the Chilean Military Junta for similar crimes committed under their rule between 1973 and 1990. These cases are being conducted by Magistrates Baltasar Garzón (Argentine case) and Manual García Castellón (Chilean case) in separate courts of the Audiencia Nacional (Central Court of Pre-Trial Investigation num. 5 and 6 respectively - Juzgado Central de Instrucción nums. 5 y 6).
Both actions were formally filed by the Progressive Association of Prosecutors of Spain. However, even if they were enough to set the criminal process in motion, they did not constitute an official, public decision to prosecute. The later private criminal actions were then filed, in the Argentine case, by the Human Rights Secretariat of United Left (IU), the third-largest political party in Spain, with other organisations and associations subsequently following suit. As for the Chilean case, it was the Salvador Allende Foundation who filed the lawsuit. This was possible thanks to the figure known in Spanish law as the accion popular, or popular action, which may be brought by any Spanish citizen, regardless of injury or other standing, in the public's interest.
It is an incontrovertible truth that the armed forces of both countries, Argentina and Chile, implemented a repressive and systematic methodology on a large scale. They committed acts of extermination, murder, forced disappearances, torture, persecution based on political ideas and prolonged detentions. All of this constitutes the figure of "crimes against humanity" and could be carried out through state terrorism practices. These offences against the common conscience of humanity were typified as such by the Nuremberg Charter in its article 6(c). The UN General Assembly itself, in its Resolution of 11Dec1946, confirmed the principles of International Law recognised by the International Courts of Nuremberg, which is equal to confirming the universal scope of the law as present in the Statutes and Sentence of said Court. Moreover, according to the International Law Commission, we are dealing with International Law Crimes that may neither be prescribed, nor pardonned and are of universal jurisdiction. Those who commit these crimes are violating norms of international ius cogens. Therefore, all states are obliged to legally proceed againsts their authors. This obligation can be required to all states and by all states.
Many of these crimes have given rise to or form part of numerous international treaties, such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948, or the Convention Against Torture, 1984, among others. Thus, Genocide has been recognized as a crime against humanity and so stated the Israeli District Court of Jerusalem, in the Eichman case. Also, the International Criminal Courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda Statutes provide that persecution on political grounds is a crime against humanity and therefore punisable under international criminal law.
With respect to the crime of terrorism, international customary law recognizes it as one. The UN General Assembly itself has expressly condemned this crime (UN Doc. A/49/185 and A/50/186 of December 24 1994 and 1995 respectively).
Spain has ratified the treaties and Conventions in which these figures have been included. The Spanish constitution, in its articles 10.2 and 96.1, recognizes that international human rights law is of obligatory use in the interpretation of the corresponding constitutional norms; the norms contained in international treaties such as those of international humanitarian law (Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols of 1977), the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the Convention Against Torture (1984), among others, having been published in the Official Bulletin of the State, they form directly part of the domestic Spanish law. These instruments have also been ratified by the Chilean and Argentine States. Moreover, article 23.4 of the LOPJ-1985 (Organic Law of the Judicial Power) explicitly establishes a rule of extraterritorial jurisdiction for crimes of genocide and terrorism.
PINOCHET BEFORE THE SPANISH AUDIENCIA NACIONAL:
The former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, who is supposedly recovering in an unidentified London hospital after surgery for a herniated disc, is one of the military leaders mainly concerned by these investigations.
The evidence gathered until now more than reasonabily shows that General Pinochet could be one of the highest responsibles of the crimes committed by the international terrorist network of military intelligence known as "Operacion Condor". This was the expression chosen by dictators of the Southern Cone to name the sinister venture they were about to launch forth. This intelligence network was centered in Santiago, Chile, one of its explicit goals being the elimination of political adversaries in other countries.
And so, in 1975, due to a chilean iniciative, the intelligence agencies of the Southern Cone codified the already existing informal co-operation. The condor files contain a letter from General Contreras, Executive Director of the DINA (Directorate of National Intelligence) to the Paraguayan General Guanes Serrano. In this letter Contreras calls "Primer Encuentro de Trabajo de Inteligencia Nacional" (first working meeting of national intelligence) to the enterprise that afterwards will become the "Condor Operation". Contreras also proposed the DINA facilities to become the main headquarters in order to proceed to "the centralization of all the information related to records of persons and organizations, and other activities direct or indirectly linked to the subversion".
The meeting mentioned by Contreras took place at the DINA headquarter, in Santiago, in October 1975. Is was attended by the military intelligence chiefs of Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay and Uruguay. One month later, Contreras met with Guanes Serrano and the Chief of the Paraguayan Police Francisco Brites. The Operative Condor was conceived in this meeting and "a data base, an information center and several workshops". The harmless name of "workshops" ("talleres") refers to the planning sessions of multilateral groups of agents in charge of the vigilance, arrest, imprisonment, tortures and "repatriation" of the opponents to the different régimes.
On February 13, 1998, the statement of already mentioned General Manuel Contreras before the Chilean Supreme Court was added to the record of the Chilean case in Spain. In his statement, General Contreras often reiterates that the DINA was a military organism that depended directly on Pinochet, to whom he "daily informed". We underline that the Chilean Supreme Court declared DINA as a "criminal organization" in the line of the Nuremberg Trials and that this fact was also reminded by the European Parliament in a last year Resolution condemning General Pinochet. General Contreras is still in prison.
The murder of Orlando Letelier (former Foreign Affairs Minister of Chile) on September 21, 1976, at Washington, is one of the terrorist outrages committed in the frame of this organization. The investigation on this case was conducted by the US Attorney Ernest Lawrence Barcella and gave rise to the request of a "commission rogatoire" (official petition) by the Spanish Magistrate in charge of the Chilean case. The investigation had then been expanded to incude FBI files on Operation Condor. The mentioned US Attorney has also testified before the Spanish Magistrate (official pages 1727-1731), stating that DINA, as organization, conspired to commit terrorist attacks in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, USA, Argentina, Chile and ather countries. They were terrorist activities, according to this attorney, of which Augusto Pinochet Ugarte has complete knowledge and in which he participated. The so called "Plan Condor" estructured the terrorist activities directed by Pinochet and that had extraterritorial lethal effects.
The Operation Condor has also given rise to several "commission rogatoires" of the Magistrate who conducts the Argentine case, Baltasar Garzon; through the very last one, he requested the authorities of Paraguay a series of documents related to this Operation. Paraguay was the country in which appeared the enormous secret police files that revealed the existence of a terror campaign that had been internationally co-ordinated.
CONCLUSION: there is credible evidence that shows more than reasonably that General Augusto Pinochet and his subordinates committed between September 11, 1973 and March, 1990, crimes of, extermination, murder, forced disappearances, tortures, kidnapping, persecution based on political ideas and ilegal detentions..., all of which can be integrated into the figures of genocide and terrorism. These acts were committed in different countries, including Argentina, in a sequence of criminal acts under Operation Condor whose magnitude, systematic character and concreteness have been reasonably revealed through evidence that has been gathered until this moment.
Once the IU Human Rights Secretariat and the Salvador Allende Foundation came to know that General Pinochet was in the United Kingdom, supposedly at London, and him being the main accused in the case conducted by Magistrate Castellon and one of the main responsibles for the Operation Condor -whose criminal actions also affected argentinian citizens- these two popular accusations requested both Judges to file a petition to the UK authorities, by means of INTERPOL, in order to be able to interrogate General Pinochet. Both Judges, Garzon and Castellon, addressed such request to the the UK authorities between last Tuesday, 13th., and Wednesday, 14th. of October.
Considering the existing accusation against General Augusto Pinochet before the Spanish National High Court, regarding genocide, terrorism, tortures and crimes against humanity, in relation with the facts known as OPERACION CONDOR, we urge you to request to the UK Government and the members of the British Parliament the following:
1) To adopt all necessary measures in order to grant the interrogation of the accused, General Augusto Pinochet, as it has been requested by the Spanish Judges through their commission rogatoire (official petition), and hence, to favor Pinochet's attendence before the Spanish Audiencia Nacional.
2) To adopt all necessary measures in order to guarantee that General Pinochet do not leave the UK before the requirements of the Spanish Magistrates had been fully accomplished.
3) To comply with their obligations arising from the international norms of ius cogens that provide that crimes against humanity, including genocide, may neither be prescribed nor pardonned, and are of universal jurisdiction. 4) To accomplish with articles num. 8, par. c), d), e) y f) of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism of 27 January 1977-- to which both Spain and the United Kingdom are States party -- establishing the cooperation to take effective measures to ensure that the perpetrators of egregios crimes against humanity do not benefit from impunity.
5) To act according to the compromises derived from the Human Rights Foreign Affair Policy of the UK, in the way provided by the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and the United Nations Principles, Principles for International Co-operation for the Identification, Extradition and Punishment of those responsibles for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.
6) To not contribute to the fact of making of Europe a refuge land for those reponsibles of the more egregious crimes against the common conscience of humanity.
7) Regarding the members of the British Parliament, to urge them to undertake petitions in order to favor the indictment of General Augusto Pinochet before the Spanish National High Court -Audiencia Nacional- as a unique opportunity to cooperate in the fight against impunity for human rights violations committed in Chile during his rule.
a) United Kingdom Goverment:
- Secretary of State for Home Affairs The Rt Hon Jack Straw, MP Home Office 50, Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT Fax: 44 171 273 3965
- Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs The Rt Hon Robin Cook, MP Foreign and Commonwealth Office Downing Street London SW1A 2AL Fax: 44 171 270 3539
- Cabinet Office The Rt Hon Dr Jack Cunningham, MP Downing Street London SW1A 2AL Fax: 44 171 270 0196
b) Members of the British Parliament:
- Chair of Parliamentary Human Rights Group Rt Hon Ann Clwyd, MP House of Commons London SW1A OAA Fax: 44 171 219 5943
- Chair of Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Donald Anderson, MP House of Commons London SW1A OAA
- Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, MP House of Commons London SW1A OAA Fax: 44 171 219 2328
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