[JURIST] The Spanish Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that former Argentine naval officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo [TrialWatch profile] can properly be tried in Spain for crimes against humanity. The decision comes after months of jurisdictional disputes. Last December, the Spanish High Court ruled that the country did not have jurisdiction [JURIST report] to try Cavallo and offered to send him back to Argentina. In February, a Spanish court sought Mexican authorization [JURIST report] for the transfer to Argentina, a prerequisite to the move as Cavallo was originally extradited to Spain from Mexico. The Supreme Court's decision overrules the prior holding of the High Court. BBC News has more.
Cavallo has been in Spanish custody since 2003. In January 2006, he was charged with genocide [JURIST report], organized terrorism and crimes against humanity for his involvement in the disappearance of hundreds of people during the "dirty war" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], a 1976-1983 Argentine government campaign against suspected dissidents. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people were forcibly kidnapped or "disappeared" following a 1976 military coup, including approximately 600 Spanish citizens. Just under 9,000 people are known to have been killed. Cavallo's charges carry a total possible prison sentence of up to 17,000 years.