Italy seeks extradition of 139 in South America 'Dirty War' probe

[JURIST] Italy Thursday requested the extradition of 139 South Americans accused of kidnapping and murdering 25 Italian dissidents during Argentina's Dirty War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in the 1970s and 80s. The suspects, including former Argentinian dictator Jorge Videla [TrialWatch profile], former Uruguayan dictator Juan Bordaberry [Wikipedia profile] and others involved in military dictatorships in Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, were identified by an Italian investigation into the incidents that began in 1998 and was spearheaded by prosecutor Giancarlo Capaldo. The charges stem from a campaign known as Operation Condor [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in which several South American military dictatorships worked together to eliminate rebels and left-wing dissidents, resulting in the deaths and disappearances of thousands. Capaldo said that trials against the suspects could move forward even without the extraditions as Italian law permits prosecutions in absentia [JURIST news archive].

In March, a court in Rome convicted five former officers of the Argentinian military in absentia on charges of torturing, kidnapping and murdering three Italian citizens during Dirty War operations, sentencing them to life imprisonment [JURIST report]. The investigation has resulted in only one arrest, however, that of Uruguayan naval intelligence officer Nestor Jorge Fernandez Troccoli [JURIST report] last month. Troccoli is likely to be charged in the disappearance of six Italian dissidents. AP has more.



 

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