Friday, April 01, 2011

Justice for the disappeared

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 from coming to light. Today, former General Eduardo Cabanillas and three accomplices were sentenced to life imprisonment for their role in those crimes. Cabanillas ran a secret prison where hundreds of left-wing activists were tortured and murdered as part of the regime's programme of political cleansing; the bodies were dumped in a river in cement-filled drums.

This is just one of a series of cases. Since 2005, when the regime's purported amnesty was overturned by the Supreme Court, dozens of regime figures, including former dictators Reynaldo Bignone and Jorge Videla have been tried and convicted for their crimes against humanity. Argentina is comprehensively settling its score with the dictatorship, finally providing justice for the disappeared.