On-Going Trials in Argentina: Campo de Mayo

One of the largest investigations of the Argentinean judiciary was conducted because of the serious human rights violations in the complex Campo de Mayo. Only very few of the more than thousand secretly detained and tortured regime critics survived. Many victims had a trade union background. Entire works councils of numerous factories in the suburbs of the province of Buenos Aires were exterminated in 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.

The oral main trial, which includes charges of illegal deprivation of freedom, torture, murder and other crimes, began on the 2nd of November 2009, before the Federal Court of San Martín (Tribunal Oral en lo Criminal Federal nº1 de San Martín). The trial is divided in four cases: Nº 2023, Nº 2031, Nº 2034 and Nº 2043. One of the adjourned parties and of the 130 witnesses is Héctor Ratto, a former Mercedes-Benz worker in González Catán (Buenos Aires), who witnessed the illegal detention and kidnapping of some of his workmates and the involvement in these acts by some executives and staff of the company.

There are eight defendants standing trial among them Reynaldo Benito Bignone, second major of the Command of Military Institutes and de facto President of Argentina between the 2nd July 1982 and the 10th December 1983. Another defendant is Santiago Omar Riveros, former major of the Command of Military Institutes. In December 2000, an Italian court ("La II Corte di Assise de Roma") sentenced him to life imprisonment along with the meanwhile deceased Suárez Masón, and others, for the murder and torture of several Italians. In August 2009 he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the same Court that is now in charge of that case, for the torture and murder of the then only 15-year-old Floreal Avellaneda and the kidnapping and torture of her mother, Iris Pereyrea de Avellaneda. Fernando Verplaetsen and Osvaldo García, also defendants in this trial, were respectively sentenced to 25 and 18 years of imprisonment for the Avellaneda case. 



Santiago Omar Riveros sentenced to life imprisonment:

More information about all military dictatorship cases can be found here:
http://www.memoriaabierta.org.ar/eng/principal.php (English)
http://www.cij.gov.ar/nota-127-Ciudad-de-Buenos-Aires.html (List of trials in Buenos Aires / Spanish)
http://www.cij.gov.ar/especiales.html (Spanish)
http://www.mpf.gov.ar/ (under derechos humanos / Spanish)
http://www.nuncamas.org/investig/articulo/nuncamas/nmas0001.htm (Spanish)
http://criticadigital.com.ar/impresa/index.php?secc=nota&nid=35562 (Interview Wolfgang Kaleck)
http://www.elargentino.com/nota-70449-Los-juicios-son-un-modelo-para-Europa.html (Interview Wolfgang Kaleck)


  • Argentina
  • Bignone
  • Campo de Mao
  • imprisonment
  • military dictatorship
  • torture center

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