The Human Rights Actions Network - Derechos Human Rights

Argentina: Italian Trials Against Argentine Human Rights Abusers


Servicio Paz y Justicia - Argentina

Request for Urgent Action

**Brief Summary of the Situation by Derechos Human Rights**

During the last dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983), more than 30,000 people were disappeared by agents of the military government. Most of them were brutally tortured, kept in inhumane conditions in makeshift concentration camps, and ultimately killed. Among the disappeared were citizens of many countries, including at least 617 Italians were disappeared.

After democracy returned to Argentina, criminal charges were filed against many of the perpetrators of these human rights violations, and some trials were commenced. However, most of them escaped punishment when the government passed laws exonerating most military officers and underlings under the guise that they were "following orders". The few that remained to be tried were quickly pardoned by President Carlos Menem. Thus most of those guilty of human rights violations against thousands of people in Argentina remain totally unpunished and generally in their old posts.

Under international law, countries can claim jurisdiction over criminal acts against their own citizens, regardless of where these acts occurred. Human rights organizations in Italy, and the relatives of Italian disappeared, have been trying to get the Italian government to exercise its jurisdiction and put on trial those accused of human rights violations against Italian citizens during the dirty war in Argentina. However, this process has encountered strong opposition from the Argentine government, as well as within Italy. The prosecutor has asked for the case to be dismissed, and a judgement on this request is expected on January 14th, 1997. What follows is the action request by SERPAJ, the human rights organization in Argentina headed by Nobel Peace Laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel. For more (Spanish and Italian Language) information on the matter please see

**Note** - On the Jan. 14th hearing, the Judge postponed his decision on the case for at least two more weeks. There is still time to send your faxes. Please do!

On January 14th, 1997, the hearing regarding the motion to dismiss the case of the Italian Disappeared in Argentina will take place. The motion was filed by Prosecutor Antonio Marini, and it is opposed by the relatives of the disappeared. Judge Claudio D'Angelo informed Minister of Justice Giovanni Mari Flick of the situation, before considering the motion, and the Minister signed an authorization to continue the case on August 8th, 1996.

Now Judge D'Angelo will decide whether the proceedings against the Argentinians accused of human rights violations against Italian citizens will continue, or will be dismissed. His decision will be definitive.

We write to you to ask for your help on this matter and request that you write to the Judge asking that the case not be dismissed.

We thank you for anything you can do against the impunity of those responsible for committing such aberrant crimes.

Please write to:

        Claudio D'Angelo
        Ufficio del GIP
        Tribunale di Roma
        Piazzale Clodio
	FAX: 39-6-3974182 y 39738828 y 39738821	

        And to the Comision de Familiares de Italianos Desaparecidos in

        Angela Boitano
        Riobamba 34, 
        Buenos Aires C.F.
        Tel/fax 54-1953.5646

Note by SERPAJ: as we are asking you to send LETTERS, it's very important that you do so IMMEDIATELY. Letters are slow, and with the amount of mail in Europe during the holidays, mail delivery is slower than usual.

Please let Angela Boitano, from the Comision de Familiares, or SERPAJ know about the actions you are taking.

Thank You.

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