“Gentlemen judges, Never Again”: 36 years since the sentence of the trial of the Military Juntas

On December 13, 1983, just 72 hours after taking office, Raúl Alfonsín began the trial process with the signing of Decree 158, which ordered the trial of the military juntas. Two days later, the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons was created. On September 20, 1984, the Conadep report certified 8961 disappearances during the dictatorship, as well as the operation of more than 300 clandestine detention centers and the modus operandi of repression: kidnapping, torture and murder. After President Alfonsín’s Decree 158, which delegated to the Armed Forces the duty to judge those responsible, did not meet expectations, it was passed to the Civil Justice. This was possible thanks to the reform of the Code of Military Justice, the Neuquén Elías Sapag managed to modify the project so that the federal chambers intervened if the Council delayed their sentences or if the military were acquitted. The federal chamber composed of judges Jorge Torlasco, Ricardo Gil Lavedra, León Carlos Arslanián, Jorge Valerga Araoz, Guillermo Ledesma and Andrés J. D’Alessio, took as an evidentiary basis, the Conadep Report that its president, Ernesto Sabato, had delivered to Alfonsín six months earlier. They were accused: Jorge Rafael Videla, Orlando Ramón Agosti, Emilio Eduardo Massera, Roberto Eduardo Viola, Omar Graffigna, Armando Lambruschini, Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri, Basilio Lami Dozo and Jorge Anaya.Argentinos and Argentines were aware of the daily reports of the trial, and in this way, we could know more about the dark period that our country went through during 1976-1983. For their part, during these shocking days, survivors of the clandestine detention centers provided decisive evidence for the magistrates of the National Court of Appeals to convict several of the former commanders of the Forces for human rights violations Armadas.La sentence was read on December 9, 1985, with four acquitted but with the sentence of life imprisonment for Videla and life imprisonment to Massera. This generated a sense of relief and satisfaction, but the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo warned that times of impunity would come for the lower officers, and they were not mistaken.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor for Crimes against Humanity as of September 15, 2020, 997 people were convicted and 162 acquitted in 246 trials for crimes against humanity. The justice process to that date has reached 3329 people in almost six hundred court cases throughout the country.

Original source in Spanish

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