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Argentina’s Human Rights Trials


Edited By Gabriele Andreozzi

The current situation in Argentina is unprecedented. In compliance with prescribed timings and procedures, the crimes committed by the state in recent history are being prosecuted and penalized. This book traces the path of the trials for crimes against humanity in Argentina, from the Trial of the Juntas that began during the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín to current developments under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, analysing the ideas of memory, truth and justice. In the volume, judges, lawyers, historians, journalists and witnesses from the era of terror give a lucid and critical reconstruction of the last thirty years. The contributors also point to other states where crimes against humanity are still being committed on a daily basis, despite being notionally proscribed.
This book is translated from Spanish, originally appearing under the title Juicios por crímenes de lesa humanidad en Argentina (2011).
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Gaps in Memory and Political Silences


← 258 | 259 → MARINA DI FRANCO

In Argentina the evocation of state terrorism invokes automatically the armed forces and last military dictatorship. This is entirely undisputable if it is considered that the military as an institution was responsible for a murderous enterprise based on the forced disappearance of persons, and was responsible for a dictatorship which seized power in 1976 with the aim of reshaping the nation.

However, this memory tends to establish, by default, a split between the dictatorship on the one hand and the years and the governments which preceded it on the other. At best, it is typically noted that the clandestine repression began with the Triple A, a paramilitary organization created by José López Rega, Minister of Social Welfare in the Peronist government prior to the coup, and especially active from the beginning of the presidency of María Estela Martínez de Perón from mid-1974. Another antecedent which is often cited as an example of the military “rehearsals” before 1976 military is “Operation Independence”, carried out by the Armed Forces in the province of Tucumán from 1975 onwards. However, as will be argued in these pages, the authoritarianism and repressive and disciplinarian practices began long before 1976; they were carried forward not only by means of clandestine practices but, fundamentally, as a systematic official policy of the democratic Peronist governments between 1973 and 1976 and enjoyed the support or indifference of various political sectors with institutional responsibility.

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