Derechos Human Rights Celebrates Upcoming Start of Trials in Italy for Italian Citizens Disappeared in Argentina.
May 21, 1999PRESS RELEASE Derechos Human Rights Celebrates Upcoming Start of Trials in Italy for Italian Citizens Disappeared in Argentina. Derechos Human Rights congratulates Italian Judiciary for its historic decision to indict seven members of the Argentinian military for the kidnaping and murder of eight people during the dirty war in Argentina. On May 20, 1999, Italian judge Claudio D'Angelo indicted former Army General Carlos Guillermo Suarez Mason for the murder of six Italian citizens and the disappearance of a child, and six other military men for the murder of two other Italian citizens. The trial is set to start on October 21, 1999. While the accused reside in Argentina, Italian criminal procedure allows for trials in absentia. The accused are represented in Italy by leading law professors and attorneys. The Italian state, as well as the families of the victims, have constituted themselves as the plaintiffs in the case. Article 8 of the Italian Penal Code provides extraterritorial jurisdiction for political crimes committed by or against Italian citizens anywhere in the world. The indictment makes clear mention of the "political nature of the crimes" and "the interest of the Italian State and government of defending the civil rights" of its citizens. The indictments are the result of a 16-year-long process brought about by the tireless efforts of human rights groups and the families of the victims. The case was originally filed in 1983 and has required the permanent vigilance of human rights activists to get this far. Families of the disappeared cheered the indictments yesterday. "This decision is historical and I can finally free all my anguish," said Angela Boitano, president of the human rights group Families of Italian Disappeared in Argentina, who has been working on the case since its inception. Also cheering the decision was Estela Carlotto, President of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, whose daughter and grandchild were disappeared by Suarez Mason. "This case shows us that despite difficulties, the struggle for justice perseveres." said Graciela Lois, Executive Director of Derechos Human Rights and a member of Families of the Disappeared.
This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights