Argentinean Dictatorship Cases: the German "Coalition against Impunity" to press Criminal Charges

For the first time since 1984-1985, in recognition of the 2003 Nuremberg court decision against former dictator Jorge Rafaél Videla, criminal proceedings will take place in Argentina against members of the Argentine military dictatorship for crimes including the murder of German citizen, Elisabeth Käsemann. Of the 30,000 victims of the military regime, which reigned from 1976-1983, approximately 100 of those killed carried German passports or were of German ancestry. This issue is of special interest to Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of the European Center, whose cases focus on the defense of the rights of German citizens.

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Justice at last: Judgment in the Elisabeth Käsemann case

14 July 2011 After more than 18 months of hearings, the 4. Criminal Chamber of the Buenos Aires Federal Court has announced its judgment in the criminal case El Vesubio. Ruling on the murder of German citizen, Elisabeth Käsemann, the court sentenced Héctor Humberto Gamen and Ricardo Néstor Martínez to 20 years imprisonment and six months imprisonment respectively.

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Argentinean court follows international jurisdiction on sexual violence

23 March 2011 The judgment on torture and other crimes in the secret detention centers Club Atlético, Banco and Olimpo, announced on 23 March by the second Buenos Aires Criminal Court (Tribunal Oral Federal N. 2 Buenos Aires), takes into account the perpetration of sexual violence in the center.

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An Argentinean Story: Marianela Galli testifies in the ESMA-Trial

On 28 June last year, Marianela Galli, an activist from the human rights organization H.I.J.O.S. and a plaintiff in the Esma-trial, testified before the Tribunal Oral en lo Criminal Federal N.5 of Buenos Aires about her and her family's kidnapping in 1977. Marianela, who is of German descent, was the sole member of the family to survive the abduction. She told her story in an ECCHR-video, which you can watch here or if you go on "Read more".

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"Automotores Orletti": The Trial Begins

On 3 June 2010 the trial for the crimes committed in the secret detention center "Automotores Orletti", an enclave of the Plan Condor, began before the Federal Criminal Court (TOF) N.1 in the city of Buenos Aires. Five former members of the Army and the Secret Services stand accused of illegal deprivation of freedom, torture and the homicide of 65 victims. According to the Calendar of the Court, the reading of the indictment lasted until 17 June 2010. This is followed by the testimonies of the defendants. The victims and witnesses will begin testifying on 8 July 2010.

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Former Argentinean President sentenced to 25 Years’ Imprisonment

After months of hearings and hundreds of witness statements, Reynaldo Benito Bignone, who was President Argentina during the final phase of the military dictatorship (1982-1983), was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on 20. April 2010. Bignone was charged with torture as a crime against humanity for offences carried out in the torture centre Campo de Mayo. The federal court in San Martin, Argentina has also sentenced five further high ranking officials from dictatorship to imprisonment. The ECCHR has previously reported on the trials.

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Legal Opinion: Banks supported Crimes committed during the Argentinean Dictatorship

During its reign (1976-1983), the Argentinean Military Junta sought and received financial support from international banks. As such, the banks supported the regime and its repressive policies. Human rights organizations have presented a legal opinion in a case before the Federal Court Nr 7 in Buenos Aires. This concludes that international banks, by awarding financial credit to the Military Junta, contributed substantially to human rights abuses. ECCHR-General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck spoke at the conference "Financing Gross Human Rights Violations: International Banks, Complicity and the case of Argentina", about the participation of civil and economic actors in the crimes of the dictatorship.

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German Arrest Warrant issued for Ex-Dictator Videla

On 15 December 2009, the District Court in Nuremberg issued another warrant for the arrest of Jorge Rafael Videla, the former head of the military junta that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983. The warrant was issued in response to Videla's participation in the murder of Rolf Stawowiok, a German citizen. The criminal complaint was filed in May 2001 by Wolfgang Kaleck on behalf of the Coalition against Impunity. In January 2010 proceedings were temporarily suspended by the Prosecutor's Office in Nuremberg-Fürth due to the absence of the accused.

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On-Going Trials in Argentina: Campo de Mayo

Campo de Mayo was a military area 30km outside Buenos Aires. Between 1976 and 1980 it was divided into four different secret detention and torture centers: El Campito, La Casita, La Prisión Militar de Encausados and El Hospital Militar. The area was under the control and command of the Command of Military Institutes ("Comando de Institutos Militares"), which was led by the four Generals Santiago Omar Riveros, José Montes, Cristino Nicolaides and Reynaldo Bignone at this time.

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On-Going Trials in Argentina: Primer Cuerpo del Ejèrcito

The First Army Corps Case, "Primer Cuerpo del Ejército" (no. 14.216/2003), concerns violations of human rights such as torture, murder, deprivation of liberty and kidnapping. Members of the First Army Corps committed these crimes in Buenos Aires and the region of La Pampa, Argentina, from 1976 to 1983.

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On-Going Trials in Argentina: ESMA

The major case ("mega causa" - Case 14.217/203) concerns crimes committed in the center of detention and torture based in the Escuela Mecánica de la Armada (E.S.M.A.) between 24 March 1976 and 10 December 1983. The oral hearings opened on 11 December 2009 before the Federal Court No. 5 (Tribunal Oral Federal nº5) in Buenos Aires.

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Argentinean Videos: the Dictatorship Cases

As of December 2009, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) monitors the current trials of former military officials in Argentinean federal courts. The defendants are charged with severe human rights violations committed from 1976 to 1983 under the military dictatorship.
ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck, spokesperson and lawyer for the 1998 founded German "Coalition Against Impunity: Truth and Justice for the German disappeared in Argentina", has been travelling with Berlin filmmaker Alexandra Weltz (Parkafilm) to Buenos Aires to report back in a Video Blog.
Watch videos...

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