Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Argentina/Italy: Massera Trial Begins

In Italy, the trial of former Argentine junta leader Emilio Massera has begun in his absence. He is accused of responsibility for the deaths, in 1976 and 1977, of Italian nationals Angela Aietta Gullo, Giovanni Pegorato and his daughter Susana, and the appropriation of the latter's baby, who was born in captivity.

Given that Massera is involved in the ESMA 'megatrial' in Argentina, it is 'practically impossible' to extradite him, according to the victims' lawyer. Nevertheless, the trial is symbolically important, particularly as it was halted in 2005 when the retired admiral was found to be suffering from dementia. A subsequent medical report, however, deemed that he was in control of his faculties and had been faking and exaggerating his neurological symptoms. There have been varying results from several different tests; Massera is obviously very elderly and, on balance, I would be moderately surprised if he survives and is sufficiently healthy to see a conviction at the end of the ESMA trial. Several decades' worth of chances to put him in the dock have slipped by. Yet this is precisely why I think every opportunity to see justice in action needs to be grasped.

President of the Grandmothers' association, Estela Carlotto, has expressed her approval of the proceedings.

Se inicia el juicio a Massera por la muerte de tres italianos durante la dictadura militar (Pagina/12)
Comenzó en Italia el juicio contra Massera (Critica Digital)

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