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.

The participants of the conference in March 2010 discussed the arguments put forward in the Amicus Curiae. The Essex Transitional Justice Network (ETJN), The Essex Project on Human Rights (EPBHR) and Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) in Argentina had presented the document in the case Ibanez Manuel Leandro and others v. Undetermined financial institutions.

The opinion states  that Argentina is obligated by both national and international law to guarantee access to information. For example, Argentina has unconditionally ratified the international pact on civil and political rights, which includes the right to information.

The opinion also argues that the information requested by the claimants would very likely provide adequate evidence for the banks' indirect participation in the severe crimes against humanity committed. The opinion holds that the facts presented so far constitute a so-called prima facie case for responsibility according to civil law. It is the opinion of the ECCHR that loans provided by the banks contributed significantly to the human rights violations committed by the military dictatorship. As the majority of these crimes were known about at the time, the banks were aware of the consequences of awarding such sums. 

The legal opinion can be found here.


  • amicus curiae
  • Argentina
  • banks
  • military dictatorship
  • prima facie

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