Derechos Human RightsReport

Letter to President Aznar from the lawyers representing the popular accusation in the Pinochet case

Madrid, the 20 of July 1999

Honourable Mr. JOSÉ MĒ AZNAR L@PEZ
Honourable Mr. President

     We address you in our capacity as the legal representative of Mrs. María 
ALSINA HURTOS, resident of CASTELLO d'EMPURIES (Gerona, Spain), and sister of 
Father Joan ALSINA HURTOS, sequestered, tortured, and murdered by officials 
under the command of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, as well as that of Mrs. 
Josefina LLIDO MENGUAL, resident of Valencia (Spain), and sister of Father 
Antoni LLIDO MENGUAL, sequestered, tortured, and "disappeared" by officials 
under the command of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, both of whose facts are 
documented in the criminal case against Augusto Pinochet in Central Court nº 
5 of the National Criminal Court of Spain.  Our clients are parties to this 
suit as private prosecutors.   

     We humbly place at your disposal the following facts which upon reading 
the press have come to our attention

1)  In his public statements, and in particular in the article published in 
EL MERCURIO, Santiago, Chile on the 11th of this month, the Honourable Abel 
Matutes, Minister of Foreign Affairs, repeatedly attempts to apologize for 
the Tribunals of Justice investigation into the personal responsibility of 
Augusto Pinochet Ugarte for the murder of my client's brothers and two 
thousand other persons, the disappearance of 1.198 additional persons, and 
the torture of close to 12% of the adult population of his nation, that is to 
say, crimes against Humanity.  

2)  The systematic refusal by Mr. Abel Matutes to refer to the alleged 
"crimes" in his public statements, as if the indictment of Augusto Pinochet 
was obtained without any substantive evidence.  

3)  The systematic refusal by Mr. Abel Matutes to use the word "victims", as 
if they did not exist in this case, or in the conscience of Spanish and 
international public opinion, nor did they have a right to approach the 
Tribunals and demand justice for crimes against Humanity.

4)  The refusal by Mr. Abel Matutes to mention in his public statements the 
"denial of justice" which has characterized this case in Chile, along with 
the violation by Chile of the public international order as well as pertinent 
international treaties, both multilateral and bilateral.  

5) The handing over of documents which are part of the criminal  proceedings 
in the Spanish National Criminal Court by Mr. Abel Matutes to the Government 
of Chile and which are, according to the Law, unavailable to third parties. 
We are referring specifically to the delivery of  Public Prosecutors 
statements inside the judicial proceedings to the Chilean Embassy, which were 
censored to exclude the argument that the National Criminal Law is a 
competent tribunal in this case, as the brief filed in July 1996 by the first 
Public Prosecutor in charge of this case, the Honorable Javier Balaguer, 
argues, with the consultation and authorization of the  State Attorney 
General Chief, the Honorable Carlos Granados, and which argument was later 
affirmed by the Criminal Tribunal in their decision on jurisdiction dated 5 
November 1998.

6)  The handing over to the government of Chile, who is not a party to this 
judicial case, in contrast to our clients, of reports prepared on 
jurisdiction in this case by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 
outside experts.

     It is disturbing that the above mentioned public statements could be 
interpreted as a submissive posture on the part of the Government of Spain in 
regards to the actions of a State who is not party to this suit but who does 
not cease in its attempts to pressure against the proceedings in the Spanish 
Tribunals.  It would stand in stark contrast to the energetic defense by Her 
Majesty's Government of the independence of the British justice system and 
the international criminal law being invoked.  As an example we would like to 
offer Lord Williams of Mostyn and Lord Clinton-Davis actions in the House of 
Lords on this past July 6th, both of whom defended the British Courts and 
Government in its pursuit and persecution of the crimes of terrorism, 
genocide, and torture, for which Augusto Pinochet has been indicted.

     As you also know, the Spanish House of Representatives unanimously 
approved in December of 1997 a motion demanding that the proper respect due a 
judicial process be accorded to the one currently under way in the National 
Criminal Court of Spain, and on three other opportunities the European 
Parliament has approved resolutions requesting the same.

     The respect shown for international and internal law in the extradition 
request for Augusto Pinochet from the United Kingdom has resulted in a 
noticeable increase in the international prestige of the both the Justice 
system and Government of Spain.  Consequently it should be of great concern 
the damage inflicted on this newfound prestige by the Minister of Foreign 
Affairs' choice of words.  

     For these reasons we respectfully request that

     - in light of the preceding manifestations, the government of Spain take 
note and adopt the means necessary for the government of Spain to give the 
Spanish Justice system the international support it deserves in pursuing 
these unpunished crimes against Humanity,      
     -  as our clients are clearly affected, the transferal to us, their 
legal representatives, of the reports and documents with relevance to the 
criminal case against  Augusto Pinochet and others, that were given by the 
Government of Spain to the State that requests the liberation without trial 
of an individual indicted for crimes against Humanity.
                       Manuel Murilllo
[on behalf of the team of lawyers representing the plaintiffs]

Pinochet Case

This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights