International Arrest Order Issued for Former Argentine Junta Leader

                                                  For Immediate Release
                                                         March 25, 1997

Derechos Human Rights
(510) 528-7794
Contact: Michael Katz-Lacabe

  International Arrest Order Issued for Former Argentine Junta Leader

Twenty-one years after a brutal dictatorship took control of Argentina,
one of its leaders has been ordered arrested by a Spanish judge.

Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon yesterday issued an international arrest
warrant for former Argentine General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri.

The warrant was issued for General Galtieri's role in the disappearances
of a Spanish man and his two sons as Commander of the 2nd Army
Corps when the military took power in 1976 and president of Argentina
from December 1981 to June 1982.  General Galtieri also played a role
in initiating the ill-fated Falklands War against Britain.  He was acquitted
on charges of crimes against the Argentine people but served a short
sentence for incompetency for leading Argentina into the Falklands War. 
The acquittal and subsequent shortened sentence for incompetency were
a result of strong military pressure against any punishment of its

In issuing the warrant, Garzon indicated that Galtieri's criminal
responsibility for the disappearances arose from his position and duties. 
Garzon also indicated that he would not accept the defense that Galtieri
did not know about the crimes against humanity that were committed by
the Argentine military under his command.

Derechos Human Rights, a California-based human rights group that has
been cooperating in efforts to bring Galtieri and others to trial, welcomed
the news.  "We congratulate Judge Garzon for finally ending the
impunity that had been granted by the Argentine government to General
Galtieri and so many other human rights abusers," said Michael Katz-
Lacabe, Executive Director of Derechos Human Rights.  Katz-Lacabe
added, "According to testimony before the Argentine Commission on
Disappeared Persons (CONADEP), Galtieri, who was trained at the US
Army School of the Americas in 1949, told a detainee that he had
absolute power her and could decide if she lived or died.  He spared her
life because he said that she had the same name as his daughter."

The warrant is the first of many expected to be issued by Garzon, who
is investigating potential crimes against humanity charges against more
than 100 other members of the Argentine military for disappearances of
300 Spanish nationals.  The issuance of the warrant indicates that Garzon
does not expect Galtieri to voluntarily present himself for trial.

The Argentine government has stated that it will not cooperate with the
investigation by Judge Garzon and a similar investigation under way in
Italy.  For Galtieri, this will have the effect of forcing him to never leave
Argentina for fear of arrest.  Former Navy Captain Alfredo Astiz has
endured a similar fate after he was convicted in absentia in France of
murdering French nuns Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet.

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