Derechos Human RightsReport

Derechos Human Rights Celebrates Upcoming Start of Trials in Italy for Italian Citizens Disappeared in Argentina.

May 21, 1999


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. 

Human Rights in Argentina

This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights