Spain extradites Argentina ex-naval officer to face 'Dirty War' charges

[JURIST] Former Argentinean naval officer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo [Trial Watch profile; JURIST news archive] was extradited Monday from Spain to Argentina, where he will face trial for crimes committed during Argentina's 1976-83 "Dirty War" [Global Security backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Cavallo was a lieutenant at the Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) [BBC backgrounder] in Buenos Aires, where an estimated 5,000 people were detained on suspicion of being involved in subversive political activities. He had been in Spanish custody since 2003, when Spain used its universal jurisdiction laws [HRW report] to charge him with genocide [JURIST report]. Earlier this month, the Spanish National Court dropped these charges against Cavallo [JURIST report] and approved his transfer to Argentina.

At present, Cavallo will be tried for theft of the property of ESMA detainees, as this offense clearly violated the penal codes of both countries for purposes of extradition. In the coming months, Argentinean judge Sergio Torres expects to file charges of crimes against humanity against Cavallo. Cavallo was the second Argentinean official to face charges in Spanish courts at a time when Argentinean amnesty laws still foreclosed prosecution for crimes committed during the Dirty War. In 2005, Spanish courts convicted former naval officer Adolfo Scilingo [JURIST report] of participating in the murders of 30 people. The Argentinean Supreme Court struck down the amnesty laws [JURIST report] in the same year, prompting numerous trials and resulting in the convictions [JURIST report] of several former state officials. CNN has more. El Pais has additional coverage, in Spanish.



 

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