Saturday, December 30, 2006

Luis Gerez


Between 1976 and 1983, Argentina's military junta waged a campaign of violence against dissidents, students, and unionists known as the "Dirty War". Thousands were disappeared, tortured and murdered by government death squads, their bodies flung from the backs of planes over the Atlantic Ocean to prevent any evidence. Following the fall of the junta, the new civilian government issued an amnesty for those responsible, but this was overturned by the Argentinean Supreme Court in 2005. And so there began to be justice for the crimes of the past, with former military officers and torturers dragged into court and made to account for their crimes.

Unfortunately, the terror isn't over. Earlier this year a witness in the first trial, Jorge Lopez, vanished within days of the sentence being handed down. Neither he nor his body has yet been found. And now Luiz Gerez, a man who testified against a prominent right-wing congressman and caused him to lose his seat, has also disappeared. The government is blaming former members of the security forces, but one thing is becoming clear: that this will not end until there is justice, and the last of these criminals is behind bars.

Update: Gerez has been found - but it seems Argentinians' worst fears were realised. According to the Washington Post, he "had been abducted by three men who had blindfolded, beat and burned him with cigarettes". These people it seems are willing to return to the tactics of the past in an effort to escape justice. They must not be allowed to get away with it.