Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Argentina: Judges under Suspicion

This story has some pretty incredible aspects, and it's also a good illustration of the challenges facing those pushing for justice in Argentina.

Two serving judges are now suspected of involvement in the appropriation of babies during the dictatorship. One of them, Jorge Martínez Sobrino, works in Federal Oral Court No. 6 - yep, that's the court that the major human rights trials take place in, and the same court in charge of the "appropriation of babies" megatrial. Anyone smelling a conflict of interest yet?!

According to the accusation made against him by Isabel "Chichi" de Mariani and the Human Rights Secretariat and now facing Attorney General Esteban Righi, Martínez Sobrino was part of the process in which Simón Riquelo was adopted. Aged just three weeks, Simón was kidnapped along with his mother, Uruguayan citizen Sara Méndez, in 1976. While she was detained in the site known as "Automotores Orletti", her baby son was given up for adoption, and the court made no effort to discover his true origins. Instead, they handed him over to Osvaldo Parodi, part of the taskforce which had kidnapped his mother.

As it turned out, Méndez was among a tiny minority of the disappeared - she survived. 26 years later, she was reunited with her child. How amazing for them... but how terrible for justice in Argentina that people like Martínez are still in their jobs. Indeed, Martínez and fellow judge Wagner Gustavo Mitchell have not yet been convicted of a crime, but I think it's safe to say that there are professionals still working in the courts who were complicit with the dictatorship. How is this supposed to inspire trust in due process?

Denuncian a un camarista y a otros dos jueces por el robo de un bebe (El Litoral)
Dos jueces en manos de Righi (Critica)

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