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Argentina president urges speedy trials of Dirty War suspects at memorial dedication

[JURIST] Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner [official website] dedicated a new monument to victims of the 1976-83 Dirty War [Global Security backgrounder] in Buenos Aires on Wednesday. The monument, on which the names of thousands of victims are engraved, sits beside the Rio de la Plata, where drugged prisoners who were suspected of "subversion" were thrown to their deaths. Kirchner used the occasion to urge Argentinian courts to move along trials against former members of the military regime more quickly. The president also promised that his wife and successor to the presidency, Cristina Fernandez [BBC profile], will continue his policy of pushing for accountability.

Only a handful of those who participated in crimes against humanity during the Dirty War have faced trial thus far. In October, former military chaplain and Catholic priest Christian von Wernich was convicted of crimes against humanity [JURIST report], and former police officials Miguel Etchecolatz [JURIST report] and Julio Simon were convicted last year. Hector Febres, a former director of the detention center at the Navy Mechanics School [BBC backgrounder], is currently facing trial [JURIST report], and former president Reynaldo Bignone [JURIST report] will be tried in the near future. In April, a federal court revoked the pardons [JURIST report] of Jorge Videla and Emilio Eduardo Massera [Trial Watch profiles], and Ricardo Miguel Cavallo [JURIST news archives] faces charges in Spain. AP has more. Prensa Latina has additional coverage, in Spanish.

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