Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Chile: Perpetrator News

"We have to think, we say these things happened a long time ago, but for the relatives, these things are still happening now. You know, Viviana Diaz, the daughter of Victor Diaz, who was kidnapped in the Calle Conferencia all those years ago - she still hasn't got her father, she still doesn't know what happened to her father, she's still unable to bury her father. So, in some sense, we have to understand that human rights violations don't happen once, they keep on happening over and over again."
Ariel Dorfman (speaking to BBC World Service, transcript mine, slightly tidied up)

Chilean judge Victor Montiglio has issued arrest warrants for over 120 former intelligence officers connected with human rights violations in the Pinochet era.

The BBC piece below links to a radio interview with playwright Ariel Dorfman who eloquently defends the move against those who would call for 'moving on' and 'forgiveness'.

Massive indictments for human rights crimes (Dirty Wars and Democracy)
Chile seeks 'Dirty War' arrests (BBC)

At the same time, The Santiago Times reports that the Chilean military is still paying human rights abusers, years after being ordered to stop doing so. Is there a better way to make the point that, far from being a pointless witch hunt, continuing to pursue military perpetrators is essential to strengthen democracy?
In 2002 President Michelle Bachelet ordered the military to dismiss anyone linked to human rights abuses during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. A report published Sunday by the daily La Nacion revealed that despite this law, the military continued to employ or rehire some of those awaiting trial either directly or through private subcontracts.

The list includes the names of former secret police, a doctor who tortured prisoners, and a prosecutor who falsified documents to cover up the murder of Spanish diplomat Carmelo Soria, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1976.

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