The Court of Appeals of Santiago sentenced eight members of the Army in retirement for their responsibility for the crime of qualified homicide of 26 victims who were shot by the so-called Caravan of Death during their time in Calama on October 19, 1973.
In unanimous ruling, the Sixth Chamber of the high court – composed of ministers Paola Plaza, Maritza Villadangos and Guillermo de la Barra – condemned Pedro Octavio Espinoza Bravo and Juan Viterbo Chiminelli Fullerton to the sole sentence of perpetual prison, as perpetrators of the 26 killings, held the Judiciary.
In the meantime, former military personnel Carlos George Max Langer von Furstenberg, Hernán Rómulo Núñez and Víctor Ramón Santander Véliz must serve the sentence of 15 years and one day in prison, as perpetrators of the repeated crime of qualified manslaughter; and Academy Figueroa Martínez must purge 16 years of prison.
In the case of Emilio Robert de la Mahotiere González and Luis Felipe Polanco Gallardo, they must serve 12 years in prison, as accomplices of the crimes.
Finally, the acquittal of Alvaro Romero Reyes was confirmed.
«That the final judgment being the instance for the process of subsuntion of the facts demonstrated to the typical figure concerned, at the conclusion of the plenary phase, the court considers that those described in the second plea in the judgment being reviewed constitute only offences of qualified homicide, repeated, committed on 19 October 1973, unlawful under Article 391 No. 1 of the Criminal Code , with the concurrence of the 1st and 5th circumstances of that provision, that is to say, committed with known alevosia and premeditation,» the ruling contends.
Resolution adding: «In relation to the former, in addition to what the ruling holds, it was done on certain, both because the prisoners were tied up and bandaged and because their captors carried automatic firearms, all of which was intended to ensure the execution of the crimes and eliminate the risk to the opponents of the defense. The second, because the action that culminated in the death of the offended had been previously planned, reveals the purpose of committing the crime adopted in a cold and calm mood and which persisted in the spirit of the defendants from the moment the decision was made until the moment of execution of the criminal act.»
«In relation to this qualification,» he continues, «it should also be added that it is indescerable from the background of the cause that all the victims were killed, by firing squad, at the same time, in the Topater sector of the city of Calama, and although it has not been possible, to date, to find the remains of Haroldo Cabrera Abarzúa , David Ernesto Miranda Luna and Rafael Pineda Ibacache, is due exclusively to the ignominious actions after taking their lives, in order to try to erase all vestiges of their existence, through the exhumations of their bodies – at least twice – and finally by throwing their osamentas into the sea, so that these three people were also victims of homicide».
«This conclusion is ratified by the sayings of Victoria Saavedra Gonzalez, of fojas 2,964, 6,079, 12,477 and 13,025 turn, who argued that army chaplain Luis Jorquera and Deputy Officer Khronimo Rojo Rojo, who were subjected to the Law of the Fugue, killing them all,» he adds.
On the civil side, the sentence that ordered the tax company to pay compensation of between $10,000,000 and $60,000,000 to relatives of the victims was upheld.