Eight Argentina army officers get life

May 17, 2011

In an important victory for transitional justice after 36 years, a court in northern Argentina has sentenced eight ex-army officers to life in jail for killing unarmed activists in the town of Margarita Belén during the military dictatorship, the BBC reports:

Twenty-two people, mostly members of the Montoneros rebel group, were tortured and killed on 13 December 1976 after surrendering to the army. … The killings are among the most prominent cases of abuse from the 1976-1983 Dirty War era. After a trial lasting almost a year, the court in the province of Chaco passed the harshest penalty at its disposal for crimes against humanity. … The killings happened just a few months into the seven years of military rule in Argentina that became known as the Dirty War. An estimated 30,000 people were kidnapped, tortured and killed. Some leading members of the military were tried after the return to civilian rule in 1983, but then given an amnesty. More than 20 years on, the amnesties were ruled unconstitutional, clearing the way for trials to resume.

More here.